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Killing my old lawn


My lawn is old and full of moss. The moss is so matted I can't even get a spade into it and I have reached the conclusion that all I can do is skill it off and start again. What is my best course of action. I was considering killing it with weedkiller, but given the time of year (and the grass not being in full growing mode) I was wondering if there is a better option. The levels aren't right (it is lumpy and very deep, not just long, if that make sense) so I can't just pile newspaper and topsoil on top. 

Any ideas?



  • didywdidyw Posts: 3,370
    Our so called lawns were an embarrassment Vikki but we had the perfect time last year in lockdown to deal with them by digging them up and laying new turf.  It's hard work - we did it by creating strips across the lawn by digging the spade in with a sort of rocking motion, then going across each strip and lifting the turves in squares.  Perhaps you might want to wait until it has rained so the soil is a bit looser.  Some of the turfs we piled face down to rot down, some we put face down under the hedges but we also had some of those big builders dumpy sacks that my SIL then took to wherever he takes that stuff to (he's in grounds maintenance).  Once all the turf is up you can dig out any perennial weeds you come across and rake it level.  Did I say it's hard work? Worth saying again!  But oh so satisfying.  I don't know about weedkiller as we try to be as organic as we can but others may have experience of using that.
    Gardening in East Suffolk on dry sandy soil.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,358
    Have you got any photos @maxfield_25h4dMGFFY? It just gives us an idea of what you're tackling. The icon that looks like hills  is the one to use   :)
    As @didyw says, you may have to strip the turf and start again, and it's hard going. Easier when the ground is wet. 
    An alternative is to use a mosskiller, then wait for that to work [shouldn't be too long] and then increase the height of the lawn by putting in a border and backfilling with topsoil. Then, either re seeding [ need to wait until spring] or turfing.
    One thing to look at is the reason for the moss and the compaction. Moss loves shade, and grass doesn't thrive so well in it. A heavily used lawn will also compact readily, especially if you have clay soil, so renovating the ground, in general, will be worth doing to prevent the same problem in future. The prep for a lawn is the most important bit  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,783
    edited September 2021
    Vikki, now is the time for scarifying followed by aeration and an autumn feed that contains moss killer.  Follow that up with a spring scarification and you might be surprised how good the lawn can look by summer.  I did this with a cheap electric scarifier a few years ago and the vast swathes of moss have never been seen again.

    As Fairygirl says, a photo would help us understand the scale of the problem, one close up and one of the whole lawn.
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