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Old 08.05.2011, 14:46
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Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

I have a bit of a problem with our lawn - are some gardeners out there who could offer some advice?

First of all, our lawn is generally rubbish - always has been - very prone to moss and weeds. We have heavy soil and a mix of shady and sunny areas.

When we moved in 5 years ago we had the whole garden redone with a new lawn and patio. The new lawn was OK for a while and then gradually declined into the same state as before. And whilst I'm not a super-keen-lawn-gardener, I do try - so it has regularly had lawn and moss weedkiller, raking and spiking and we've used the feed that's supposed to improve the roots as well as the regular lawn feed to improve the top half. Nothing has really worked to be honest. This year the moss seems to be especially bad.

And now, I've had a total disaster. A few weeks ago when the weather was not quite so hot I used a spot-lawn-weed treatment to try and get rid of the nastier weeds before the summer starts and they start to take over. I don't know what happened - I'm sure I followed the instructions (and yes, I've re-read the packet to check it was what I thought it was - and it is - weedkiller for weeds in the lawn) - but it has completely killed the grass everywhere I put it. I guess I must have done something wrong, but now I just need to know what to do with the several dead patches in the middle of the lawn. It looks really terrible!

I got some soil for grass and some grass seed, raked the areas, put new soil down and seeded them, have watered it when it's been warm etc. That was over 2 weeks ago and there's nothing come up - do I just need to be more patient? Will it take longer than that?

I also haven't dared to cut the rest of the grass since then as I don't think I could avoid the patches where I've seeded....

Any other suggestions as to what I can do? I am tempted to try and get some turf and patch it, but I know it's hard to find here.

Hubby says "give up, lets get astro turf"!! (Maybe not a bad idea!)
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Old 08.05.2011, 14:58
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

Not sure about weed killer problem. But for the lawn, you can replace it again and again at great cost- if the conditions are 'wrong' within a few years you'll be back to square one. So you either accept it won't be a pretty lawn la British- or you get in experts to deal with the problem - drainage, etc.
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Old 08.05.2011, 15:18
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

We are heading into a long dry period...Generally speaking you should try a new grass, such as a Canadian Green grass. Also use Mediterranean plants/grasses that are hardy and drought resistant. You are flogging a dead horse trying to get a manicure lawn in a dry soil prone to weeds.
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Old 08.05.2011, 15:32
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

No that's not the problem at all - I just want somewhere the kids can play - I don't need a perfect lawn (for one thing I can't be doing with all that mowing) I'm OK with some moss and weeds - and I like daisies... I just don't want a whole lawn of moss and weeds.

The problem of the weed-killer patches is the more important issue at the moment though.
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Old 08.05.2011, 15:44
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

My limited experience would be that moss means not enough light...and possibly too much moisture...and you can't really change that...

With the weedkiller and this dry weather I'd imagine it will need a fair bit of watering to wash away the poison and give the grass a chance to start again...

Otherwise, call in a professional. They will have lots of opinions on what/won't work in your garden, and it will save you a lot of money on inappropriate options...
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Old 08.05.2011, 16:17
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

I agree with the others. You need to increase the light and/or drainage. Replacing the lawn with seed or turf on its own will not solve the problem for long.

Can the shrubs of trees shading the lawn be thinned? This could just be good pruning, not necessarily complete removal.

If you do get to the position of replacing the lawn, it would be beneficial to increase the drainage with sand or grit dug in. If the garden is in a low-lying, north-facing position you may well be stuck with it.
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Old 08.05.2011, 16:55
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

We have two small lawns - one at the front, the other at the back.

For the one at the back, we removed the old scraggly stuff in autumn, and dug it all over, leaving it until spring. Early spring, we dug it over again, and levelled it. Then put down general weed killer. After three weeks, we put down fertiliser and seed (choosing a variety that's supposed to grow well in shady areas). Three years later, it's still pretty good - though we have to fight the moss regularly.

For the one at the front, we got the professionals in. Although we booked them six months earlier, they started the work last May. They took away the top layer of soil, and rotovated the remaining, working in compost. It had never been dug before. They seeded the lawn, and went their way - about 1.5 days work (that includes creating a flower bed border along the lawn, and planting roses, lavender and some ground cover).

One year later, it's clear we're going to have a constant battle against weeds.

The moral is - when you get an expert in - make sure that it's a lawn expert. Not a general gardener.
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Old 08.05.2011, 17:40
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

My friend in the UK did his relatively small lawn with artificial grass. He swears by it. The kids can't destroy it, no maintenance, looks better than the real thing and the cat's don't crap on it any more.

If your site conditions are such that it will always be a battle just to maintain a poor quality lawn that you will never be happy with, could be the pragmatic option for you.

Last edited by 17clarence; 08.05.2011 at 17:42. Reason: just spotted the astro turf comment!
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Old 08.05.2011, 18:02
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

I battled the lawn for years, and for years I lost. It was only once I stopped fighting that my lawn started to look decent-ish.

My advice: toss out any notion of what a well-kept lawn should be. (I'm from the US midwestern suburbia, where lawn care is a way of life ) Embrace your weeds wildflowers. Live and let live. Even the creeping charlie.

If it is green and hardy*, it has earned the right to stay in the lawn. If Mother Nature put it there, I figure she probably has a reason.

Every fall and spring I re-seed patches as needed. I rake out any dead grass, put down a mix of new sandy soil and seed, cover with a light coat of sand. Don't let new seedlings dry out, water as needed. I try to keep the muttley crew off the seedlings; I work one bit of the lawn at a time, blocking off that bit until the seedlings are established. Do try to use grass seed suited to the amount of sun/shade - but other than that I've had as much success with the cheap stuff as with the expensive.

I just accept that I will need to re-seed some bits each year.

(Tip for dog owners... water the grass right after your dog has 'watered' it. Diluting the urine prevents burning. )



*Except the dandelions. Dandelions must go. You can take the girl out of the midwest, but... The day I learn to accept and appreciate my dandelions I'll know I have successfully integrated.
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Old 08.05.2011, 20:09
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

http://www.gardenseeker.com/lawns/moss_in_lawns.htm
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Old 08.05.2011, 20:39
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

I also have two gardens, front and back, and indeed, the one which gets less direct sunlight has lots of moss, while the sunny yard only has it under trees.

That said, what's wrong with moss? It feels nicer under my toes than grass!
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Old 09.05.2011, 07:55
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

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*Except the dandelions. Dandelions must go. You can take the girl out of the midwest, but... The day I learn to accept and appreciate my dandelions I'll know I have successfully integrated.
This might help.

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Old 09.05.2011, 08:22
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

@ the OP. The exact same thing happened to me, sprayed the weeds, they died, sun came out, grass dies. I had huge patches of dead grass.

I dug out the affected area down to aboutn 2-3 inches, put down some compost type stuf, put the seed on top, raked it over slightly to cover the seed and watered it daily. It took about two weeks until I started to see some small blades of grass. Now it is fine.
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Old 09.05.2011, 08:53
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

I don't use any weed killer, ever, so I can't comment on what went wrong. We also have a section of our property that gets a lot of shade, and on this I use shade grass seed. It is not as strong as other grass, but it will grow where you have shade.

When you put down new seed, you need to give enough water, and you need to keep the birds off, as well as pets. There are covers you can buy that let in light and water but protect the seedlings.
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Old 09.05.2011, 09:17
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

its brilliant for lawn weeds
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Old 09.06.2011, 08:07
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

I am looking after a large area of lawn, at the moment the clover is taking over. Can anyone give me the name of a product that works . That is available in the CH. That dosen`t kill the grass. ( THAT WORKS ).
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Old 09.06.2011, 09:01
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Re: Bit of a garden (lawn) disaster

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(Tip for dog owners... water the grass right after your dog has 'watered' it. Diluting the urine prevents burning. )
OOOOOOHHHH <massive slaphead> thats what it is........ I thought we had mini aliens landing in our garden at night..............
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