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please recommend cost effective moss killer

(23 Posts)
rombri Mon 09-May-16 18:57:03

I have about 1/2 acre of lawn which is mostly moss after our warm wet winter. It also has a fair number of weeds in it.

What is the most cost effective method to kill the moss before scarifying?

Can you recommend a product and where I can buy in bulk.

Also, is there an easy product to nuke dandelions etc in lawn?

I'm very time and cash strapped.

Many thanks.

Elizabethreallyismissing Mon 09-May-16 19:03:16

Now I haven't had this problem but I spent yesterday stuck on a coach sat in front of 2 women who never stopped talking the whole time! One of them had bought a box of something from Tesco that killed all the moss and improved her lawn immensely! She said it did exactly what it said on the box and the lawn was really green! grin so I' d try Tesco!

Unremarkable Tue 10-May-16 09:14:30

Try lawn sand. It's cheap and will kill off the moss. DIY places will have it, so will most garden centres. Then scarify. Then feed your grass - just pick up a cheap lawn feed from a DIY place. If you've got the occasional dandelion either dig them out with a knife (they have a long tap root) or you could use a lawn 'weed and feed' if you're strapped for time. But dandelions are tenacious angry. Resolva do a decent 'Spot lawn weedkiller' - it's £5 for 1 litre or dab them with Round up gel but it's expensive - £8. Don't get it on the grass though, as it will kill it. Lawns are hard work, so good luck.

shovetheholly Tue 10-May-16 09:24:43

In Japan, you see gardeners on their hands and knees with tweezers and tiny knives. They are pulling every blade of grass out of the beautiful moss lawns.


If you are very short for time, my simple advice would be: don't bother with a perfect lawn. In my personal opinion, it's far more effort than it's worth! The problem with applying a specific herbicide is not just that those things are toxic but that they won't solve the underlying problem of drainage, compaction, and watering regime, so while the moss will be killed, it will just come back. It might be a world less hassle just to keep it scarified and mown, to reseed any particularly bad areas, and to accept some biodiversity. I think the general forum consensus is that we rather like clover and daisies in lawns grin

rombri Tue 10-May-16 11:00:27

Thanks for all the advice. Will give it a go. Holly, I agree with biodiversity (even let sections turn to 'meadow'), but my lawn is now spongy and damp and brownish and not 'kid-friendly'. I don't mind daisies, but am fed up with the spread of dandelions. They really are a nightmare to budge, aren't they!

LeaLeander Tue 10-May-16 11:08:36

Please reconsider the use of poisons.

If you want to rid the dandelions teach your kids how to pull them and let that be an activity for them. Don't teach them that we change the natural world to our convenience by dumping toxins into the environment.

As a pp said, you'll also solve nothing by killing the moss. Your yard is showing you it's not suitable for turf. You need to work to improve the soil and drainage, not saturate the area with poison.

shovetheholly Tue 10-May-16 11:34:17

I do agree - you need a lawn you can use. My fear is that just removing the moss is not going to achieve that. You'll just end up with spongy, damp and (in the end) dead grass. I'm no lawn expert, but it sounds like it needs aerating/dethatching and reseeding to me, not moss removal!

rombri Tue 10-May-16 17:13:10

We've moved here recently and we don't think the previous owner ever did a single thing to the lawn in the 14 years they lived here. It is densely thatched. Cutting it exposes matted brown 'undergrass'. The warm wet winter has allowed moss to grow as well. The plan is to get rid of the moss, then scarify, re-seed etc. I'm a bit worried that when we scarify it might rip up chunks of lawn because it is that solidly thatched. I think though that it is an absolutely perfect garden for good lawn: a real sun trap. But we need to get back on top of a very neglected state of affairs.

rombri Tue 10-May-16 17:14:54

I would have gone straight to scarifying but I read somewhere that if you do that with live moss you just chop it up and allow it to spread further.

LBOCS2 Tue 10-May-16 17:18:21

I would start again probably. Rotovate, stick some gravel and sand down, top soil and returf.

But that's a 'throw money at the problem' solution.

LeaLeander Tue 10-May-16 19:24:35

I've lived in the same house for 20 years and never done anything to my lawn but mow. Never watered, fertilized, used pesticides, etc. - it is not thatched and it's healthy, green and lush. It looks far better than my next-door neighbors who have a chemical truck wheel up and spray on a frequent schedule, and who have a sprinkler system for automatic watering. Theirs is a flat half-brown mat scruffy turf. So nice lawns are not necessarily a function of enthusiastic use of chemicals and equipment.

Here is an article about causes of thatch which include excess fertilization and pesticides.

It also gives ideas for treating.

Clover actually will improve the soil and add nitrogen (unlike grass which removes it) and its roots will break up poor soil and probably the thatch. If you can bring yourself to sow it and let it grow it also provides a lush low-maintenance play area while helping to improve the condition of your soil.

LeaLeander Tue 10-May-16 19:26:26

Btw many people prize moss. Put out the word to a garden club and you might have members coming to peel it up and carry it away.

Moss does not have roots so it's very easy to pull it up or slice it off very shallowly with a spade or large knife. Vigorous raking also will peel it off the surface.

Lighteningirll Tue 10-May-16 20:21:44

I had this when I moved in two years ago and had the same advice which I took. I aerated scarified then used a combined feed and seed it's looking amazing now I am so glad I didn't use anything toxic. I just did it bit by bit I think the aerating (my dd and I did it with gardening forks so we could lift it a bit too) made the biggest difference.

shovetheholly Wed 11-May-16 06:48:32

I'm really glad it all worked lightning!

I think with lawns, as with so many other things in gardening, little and often works better in the long run than a massive blitz. You rarely conquer with one big battle in biological systems...but you can win in a war of attrition!! It doesn't need to take that long each week, either. Though I appreciate that many people struggle to find a few minutes let alone an hour a week!!

Lighteningirll Wed 11-May-16 07:52:17

That's my approach to weeding as well I just aim for half an hour a day it's never weed free but i feel more like I am winning

GreenMarkerPen Wed 11-May-16 07:55:33

you can hire a cultivator to ventilate the lawn and remove the moss. then re-sow, sand, fertilise, water... will take a couple of months...
or just ignore it for now

LilySnape Wed 11-May-16 08:02:37

Sounds like you need to go back to square one and dig it all over to remove any compacted soil then re level and top it off with a good compost and then seed it again and keep ontop of its maintenance dumping chemicals on it and hoping for the best isn't going to do anything just waste what little cash you have and ruin the planet as previous posters have also said. My DP is a landscaper and that's his advice

rombri Wed 11-May-16 09:13:51

I've been gardening for nearly 30 years and have never used chemicals once. Not even slug pellets. That's why I had to ask the question. ZERO knowledge of chemical solutions.

In my previous garden, which was very shady, north facing, and damp, we had no moss in the lawn. And I did nothing except mow.

Totally different type of grass seed though.

I really don't think using chemicals once in my life, in specific circumstances, given how unbelievably time strapped I am and the fact my kids cannot use the garden now, in our very brief summer, is going to "ruin the planet", FGS. I plan to try lawn sand for the moss. And I'll use chemicals isolated on the dandelions. Because I've already tried digging them up and failed!

Really very disappointed to see the gardening section of MN can be as judgey-panty as the other forums.

shovetheholly Wed 11-May-16 09:32:31

I'm so sorry you're upset rombri sad.

I am not judging you for considering chemicals, so much as saying that, given that you are cash-strapped and time poor (which I appreciate is a really devastating combination to be facing), it really matters that whatever you buy actually works. And I am not sure that killing the moss will necessarily work on its own. sad

Maybe I didn't communicate that clearly enough earlier. My fear is that a spongy lawn is often the sign of thatch, acidity and compaction as much as moss and that the chemicals are only the start of dealing with that: dethatching, decompaction and aeration may also be required. You have identified the type of grass as a factor here, which I think is a really important insight - it suggests, unfortunately, that reseeding with a more suitable kind might be needed.

I wonder if there is a way of breaking up the job so that you tackle a small part of the lawn at a time, to see what works for you in your conditions? It might provide you with a small bit of usable lawn more quickly, and allow for experimentation to see what actually delivers results - it could potentially save a big outlay on products to treat the whole area (which is enviably large and therefore, unfortunately, proportionately expensive!).

Lighteningirll Wed 11-May-16 10:17:37

I didn't mean to be judgy in any way I thought you were asking for advice and people's experiences am starting to think posting on mn is not worth the angst

rombri Wed 11-May-16 12:22:40

I'm sorry. I'm not upset. I was however very irritated by the "ruin the planet" comment, which is just absurd and not helpful or sensitive to context. I am desperate to get the lawn sorted so the kids and we can use it. Our 'summers' are very brief and I only have evenings, not even weekends, and so far this year about as many sunny days as I have fingers.

I agree with you holly, it's a much bigger job than just the moss. I have a friend who is a professional gardener and she said quite a few people have this issue this year because our winter was warm and it has been so wet. In our case, I think the thick thatching has made things much worse, because it's like a sponge holding water which the moss is thriving on.

I would not have considered killing the moss at all initially, but I was told that if I scarified the lawn while it was still thriving, it might disperse spores (?) more widely, and if the wet weather continues the situation would be worse. Hence the questions.

We have a large scarifier attachment for our ride on, which looks like it will be brutal but hopefully effective at cutting through the thatch and letting light and air in.

I don't want to start again. I like the lawn. It's a fine blade and makes beautiful meadow areas if left to grow, which we like to do to. We haven't been able to identify the types of grass though, although we're trying so we can re-seed with the same grass. At the moment this lovely lawn is being suffocated in large areas by moss.

If I used chemicals it would be a one-off, preceding the rest of the rescue effort. I can't manually go around removing it. I have no time. However I most likely will not use chemicals for the moss, but only because I am concerned it might affect the fine lawn as well. I think the planet would probably be OK.

I would only use chemicals now (if it came to that) because there is no garden except this lawn, and it's depressingly sterile of bees butterflies wildlife. We are wildlife gardeners, and I know if we get wildlife in, I won't want to use chemicals then. And yes I know there are beasties I probably can't see, but still far fewer than I know we will get to eventually. So I want to address the lawn now, before the bees and butterflies arrive.

I will be spot treating the dandelions though.

LeaLeander Wed 11-May-16 12:25:37

The moss is the symptom, not the problem, as everyone keeps telling you. There is not a fast fix to this and grass isn't going to magically grow if you kill the moss and dandelions.

shovetheholly Wed 11-May-16 13:40:32

Two (slightly random) thoughts:

1. It can't rain forever! Even though I myself have felt slightly despairing at times since last August (wondering if we'd actually been moved to Narnia, where it's always winter), summer is a-coming in, and it will be drier. Hopefully this will mean that the kids can make a bit more use of it, without it being like plashing around in a bog.

2. Maybe try a combination of scarifying and reseeding, I think that might improve things! (I am always shocked by how bad scarifying makes things look, and how awful the scraped patches covered with compost and seed appear, but it does grow!!)

I'm sure you already know this, because you sound really clued up, so forgive me. But leaving the grass to grow can be a bad thing to do if you want a really thick sward. It tends to produce longer grass with more brown thatchy stuff at the bottom, so more like a lovely meadow than a lawn. You may already do this, but I wonder if a differential regime, where some of it is lawned and mowed regularly for the kids, while other parts are left to grow like a meadow, might work? I've seen this done very artistically, with shapes mown into/out of the grass.

Again, stating the obvious a bit (sorry), but the meadow areas may need a bit of maintenance if you want to maximise the wildlife you bring in. Planting stuff like yellow rattle, that is parasitic on grass, can help to foster biodiversity and prevent it becoming a weed-patch, rather than a wild-flower one. My allotment is right next to a wildflower meadow seeded by the council, and a lovely group of volunteers have been down there the last few days planting our hundreds of pots of wildflowers. It's going to be spectacular in a few weeks - I can't wait!! grin

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