Langley gardening: The seedy side of lawns

 

Dear Anne,

“My lawn has suddenly turned into a huge patch of moss and white clovers after all this hot weather? I have completely no grass left. What’s the secret to having a green, nice looking lawn? Also how can I level my lawn and reseed it so I get even coverage. How can I stop the seed from washing away?”

Sandy Lai, Belcarra

 

It’s most likely the grass on your lawn has gone dormant from drought. But when this happens, the grass roots are only dormant. When we get regular rain this fall, you may find your grass growing again and greening-up. 

In future, if you always mow with a long cut (so the grass is about 3” or 7 centimetres tall), you may find your lawn suddenly looks a lot better.

Setting the lawnmower for a high cut is an important key to having a nice, green lawn.

When the grass is taller, there’s more surface to each grass leaf. This means it’s better able to feed itself through photosynthesis – and among longer grass, moss and clover will be largely hidden.

So there’s a possibility that if you wait for fall rains, you may not be forced into major lawn work.

I suspect your moss is thriving where the clover is weak and the clover is doing well where the moss is weak. Moss grows best in shade, while clover loves sun. 

Dolomite lime sprinkled on lawns will kill moss and feed your lawn as well. But moss can’t be permanently removed anywhere a lawn is very shady. In partial shade, the moss is weak and a healthy lawn of grass easily out-competes it. 

It’s best not to try to remove the clover. It has very deep roots and is resistant to weed-killers. More importantly, clover is such a good natural fertilizer for grass that many grass seed mixes deliberately include clover seed. Clover is a nitrogen-fixer that transfers nitrogen from the air and stores it on its roots where grass feeds on it.

If your lawn really does need work, this should be done this fall when nature provides the moisture for grass seed to grow.

The lawn soil is probably compacted and bringing in a machine to aerate it would add oxygen to the soil and discourage voles which make tunnels under lawns. Voles, and to some degree moles, are a major cause of uneven lawns. Their sub-surface excavations gradually collapse the soil in some places and not in others.

Grading machines can level lawns quickly and efficiently. But this is no substitute for aeration which boosts the supply of oxygen to plant roots.

An alternative to machine aeration is plunging a garden fork into the lawn about 12” (30 cm) apart all over.

The next step is bringing topsoil in. Try to rake it evenly all over.

When you seed, try scattering the seed in parallel lines all over the lawn, then scatter it again in parallel lines going across your original lines.

When it’s all sown, the seed won’t wash significantly if you cover it lightly with straw. This also helps keep it safe from birds. But try to get straw that contains little or no weed seed.

Just Posted

Team BC’s having fun, ‘feeling good’ about back-to-back victories

A junior curling team, based out of Langley, has yet to lose a game in the national championships.

Throwback Thursday: Jan. 24, 2019

Help us caption a photo from Langley’s history!

Looking Back: City nixes pool pay

The history of our community, told in the files of the Langley Advance.

Suspects sought in Langley thefts, frauds

Police released surveillance photos from recent petty thefts.

Our View: Back to the weird old days in B.C. politics

The B.C. Legislature spending scandal is a blast from the past.

Canada’s archive buys rare book that hints at Nazi plans for North America

The 1944 book may have served as a blueprint for a Nazi purge

Teravainen’s 3 points lift Hurricanes to 5-2 win over Canucks

Vancouver heads into all-star break on losing note

B.C. hospital apologizes for veteran’s five-day hallway stay

Clinical director of Victoria General Hospital says case of retired veteran ‘definitely excessive’

Speaker Darryl Plecas says ‘justice’ needed for legislature employees

Plecas spoke to media at the opening of a pedestrian and cycling bridge in Abbotsford Wednesday

Advocate hopes B.C. legislature scandal leads to more transparency

‘Depressing’ that it takes a scandal to inspire freedom of information reform, says Sara Neuert

‘Dr. Lipjob’ avoids jail, gets 30-day suspended sentence

She will have to serve the 30 days in prison if she commits a breach during her two-year’s probation

Ex-Mountie involved in Taser death at Vancouver airport sues government

Kwesi Millington claims he acted in accordance with RCMP training

47 men arrested by Vancouver police for allegedly seeking sex with teenage girls

Seven of those arrested have been charged as part of a two-month operation

Surrey farmers taking stock of revamped Canada Food Guide

Products that were once big at the table — like meat and dairy — have been put on the back-burner

Most Read