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

VIDEO: Langley crews prepare for salting and plowing

With heavy snow expected, crews are working 24-hours until the weather system passes.

TransLink says 26 new Skytrain cars to arrive early

CEO Kevin Desmond says 24 new cars are also coming for the Canada Line

WATCH: Walnut Grove Gators take lead in AAAA basketball tournament

The Gators are heading into the finals on Sunday.

Langley program helps youth find their employment niche

The first session of Skills to Success youth employment program wrapped up and a second has started.

UPDATE: 10-20 cm of snow expected Friday in Lower Mainland

Snowfall warning in effect from North Shore mountains out to Hope

VIDEO: What you need to know today at the B.C. Games

All 19 events are underway across Kamloops, where five to 10 cm of snow is expected to fall

Sask. school shooter to be sentenced as adult

The man was just shy of his 18th birthday when he killed four people and injured seven others

Internet questions PM’s fashion choices in India

The Trudeaus’ eight-day visit has been dogged by various controversies since it began Feb. 17

Adopted potbelly pig killed and eaten on Vancouver Island

Animal had been adopted out from the SPCA in Duncan; staff are devastated by news

WATCH: Walking from Argentina to Alaska one step at a time

Holly “Cargo” Harrison is in Williams Lake, resting a pulled hamstring before he continues on his 15,000-mile walk to Alaska.

BCHL Today: Merritt Centennials keep moving while Salmon Arm Silverbacks slide

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Former Canuck Roberto Luongo addresses Florida shooting victims

Parkland, Fla., resident, delivers speech before Florida Panthers’ first home game since tragedy

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Kelowna skier Kesley Serwa adds to Canada’s gold medals

Despite losses in men’s hockey and curling, Canadian women won medals in ski cross and figure skating

5 to start your day

Up to 20 cm of snow expected in parts of Lower Mainland, possible bridge lane closures, and more

Most Read