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Spring lawn care advice needed

jessb5593jessb5593 Fylde coast Posts: 6
Need some advice on lawncare before starting in spring as we don't have much experience and don't want to ruin our lawn!
We moved in end of September and before this we didn't have a lawn.
We have patches of the lawn that are springy with moss / no doubt thatch we would like to scarify but I'm reading conflicting advice about raking / scarifying first and then applying moss / weed killer (we are thinking of using miracle gro 4in1).

Should we scarify first in late March to get more moss up to allow the weed and feed to penetrate better?
Or Is it advisable to scarify after weed and feed (approx 10 days) to remove dead moss after treatment?
Or will scarifying after treatment interfere with the weed killing process?
We have a von haus 2 in 1 electric scarifier.. our lawn is approx 450mq - an average size so manually raking/scarifying would be quite difficult.
We are looking to apply the 4in1 at the start of April or could this be done any earlier?
Do we need to mow the lawn a few days before the 4in1 goes down/ scarifying?
Sorry for all the questions but trying not to make too much of a hash out of our first year caring for our lawn.
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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,404
    I go with a feed only in early spring. Then around 4 - 6 weeks later, a weed and feed. That means the latter works better as it encourages everything to grow, and is more effective. We don't get such early growth as you might get further south too, so timing is a factor. Following instructions is the most important thing - we get queries on the forum every year about what to do about the black lawn, because too much has been applied.  :)
    My front grass is largely moss by the end of winter, but that does the trick. Then I just mow regularly, weather permitting. Some years I don't have to use any products at all.
    It was largely buttercups, dandelions and moss when I moved here. 
    I don't really do much scarifying, but as you have an electric one, you can certainly use that after the moss is killed off. I think some people use it at regular intervals, but it depends how bothered you are about it being perfect. I'm not. As long as it's green, I don't mind about a bit of moss.  :)
    Striving to have perfection in a lawn is a full time job. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • jessb5593jessb5593 Fylde coast Posts: 6
    Thanks for your reply @Fairygirl - interesting point about just feeding first and the benefits to the treatment 6 weeks later!
    I'm in North West England so don't think we will benefit from early growth either.
    Yes I have also read up a lot on the miracle gro product and thinking about how we will dose correctly to avoid the black lawn situation! 🙂
    I don't mind a bit of moss / weeds either but would like to keep the balance with the grass being more dominant than the weeds.  🤣

  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,138
    All I can add is, start mowing little but often with the mower blades set high as soon as the weather allows. If it's growing, you don't have to wait until March/April, you just need it to be reasonably dry and not frosty (dry might be a big ask in the North-West though, we get more of it here). Cutting triggers the grass to thicken up from the base of each little grass plant. You can lower the mower blade height in late spring/summer if you like, but don't go too short.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,404
    I rarely use branded products @jessb5593 - I just use own brand B&Q or similar. It's all the same as far as I'm concerned  ;)
    I find Scott's very good, but it often comes down to what's available too.
    You can also spot weed anything that pops up - that's especially good with things like dandelions or buttercups. In a small lawn, you can dig them out, but that's not feasible on large areas.
    The only problem with using the two products method, is the timing, but you may find that after a couple of years, you need fewer products altogether.  :)

    Regular mowing, as @JennyJ says, is the best way to get grass in good nick. Ideally, you never take off more than about a third of the height at one time.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Scarify, aerate comprehensively with a fork because it's likely to be compacted, then add lime. (which you can do now..just before rain is best) You have moss because of damp acidic soil. Most common lawn grasses need a pH of between 6 & 7 as a rule. It'll look a mess for a while but will soon perk up.
    I'm not far from you - I don't mow until well into March - the ground is too soft.
  • PlantmindedPlantminded WirralPosts: 1,027
    After years of experimentation and disappointment with lawns, I no longer use moss killer - it kills your lawn too!  Like @Fairygirl, I feed my lawn when it is actively growing in early spring.  I use plain old blood fish and bone as it is natural and releases nutrients slowly, not causing a sudden growth spurt. 

    Follow @JennyJ's advice about mowing and you'll find that the grass will soon outcompete the moss as the soil gets drier and the grass starts to block the light off the moss, causing it to weaken.  Then, a light scarifying to remove the moss which you have killed naturally! This will also remove any dead grass and thatch which prevents water and nutrients getting to the roots of your growing grass.

    A second feed about six weeks after the first feed will help the grass toughen up to avoid any stress caused by drought, but only do this when the soil is moist.

    Regular mowing at the right height is the best way to keep the lawn healthy.  Any perennial weeds can be easily removed with a knife or spot weeding device.

    Accept that you are never going to have a perfect lawn - as long as it looks green, a little moss at the edges isn't going to hurt!😊
  • jessb5593jessb5593 Fylde coast Posts: 6
    @JennyJ thanks some good advice there too about not cutting too short, it isn't long at the moment so I think we will be good to start mowing in March if the weather is reasonable as you say! 🙂
  • jessb5593jessb5593 Fylde coast Posts: 6
    Thanks for the advice @Chris-P-Bacon yes I am slightly worried about the patches there will be after raking/scarifying... I suppose I can look to overseed those areas though when it warms up from mid-April? 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,404
    I don't bother with moss killer either. I would dispute that it's because of acidic soil too.
    Moss grows everywhere round here - regardless of whether it's even in soil or not. Rocks, raised timber beds, trees, walls etc. It's shade that's the main reason for the majority of moss. We even have it in more south facing areas. Just our climate  :)

    Once there's better weather, and the ground dries up a bit more, the grass gets an upper hand and there's less of it [moss] to contend with.  :)
    It's easy to become a slave to a piece of grass. That's fine if you have nothing else to do  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • PerkiPerki Rossendale - LancashirePosts: 2,184
    The main cause of moss is moister , shaded areas don't dry out as fast as a sunny area hence why it does well . Moss can also grow in alkaline conditions and even on limestone.

    I personally wouldn't be applying lime to any lawn unless you know it needs it, if they is a extreme in acidic conditions much lower than 6 PH then yes consider looking into liming the lawn, I'd be surprised if you did have extreme levels. Changing PH levels in a garden is potentially setting yourself up for other problems, work with what you've got .

    Moss killer does not kill grass it doesn't even kill the moss it burns it , the only way moss killer can kill grass is if it applied wrong.  If you do get dry enough summers the moss will recede and will liven up once moister is adequate , no chance of that happening here the moss will just grow to the height the grass is cut at , but yes little and often will produce a better lawn .

    Depending how thick the moss is ? it be best moss killing after scarification but this does depend if you have a deep infestation of moss , if its not to deep like a inch apply before if you wish . You can not over seed a lawn if you are using 4-1 for around 6 week. 

    Set the scarifer on the high setting you are supposed to tease the moss out not rip it out like so many do , go over it once and reassess height and do it again .  Even on the same height more moss will come out on a second pass than the first, if you got a blade attachment use that instead of the wire tines.  Moss killing first can make it easier to scarify, no more moss killer can be applied for at least 4 week .

    I do lawn care in March or later when the grass starts growing it may be different for you. You can be a slave to a lawn as fiarygirl has mentioned .
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