I have discovered that I’m not winning the lawn war after all. A new battle has commenced – this time against moss. I had always had some moss appear around the plum trees in winter and didn’t think anything of it because that part of the garden is fully shaded in winter.
But now that I’ve killed off the paspallum, I noticed that I had large patches of moss covering maybe 50% of the lawn. So I got some Sulphate of Iron and sprinkled it over the lawn at about 2 tbsp per m2 as directed to kill moss and was rewarded with black patches all over my already battle-weary lawn (I’m not sure I can actually call it a lawn).
In reading up about moss control I discovered that moss in lawns is generally a symptom rather than a cause, and that the potential causes behind the problem are: the soil is too acidic, it is lacking necessary nutrients, there is poor drainage and/or excessive shade. If these issues aren’t fixed, the moss will just keep coming back and weeds will grow more.
I should be able to exclude excessive shade except under the plum trees, particularly as I have got rid of some bigger trees and opened out the garden. Weed ‘N’ Feed has been applied so it should theoretically have some good nutrients. Extra drainage has been put across the lawn but there is some good solid clay so maybe that is part of the problem, and I certainly have acidic soil as camellias and rhododendrons thrive.
So I applied some Claybreaker which apparently miraculously changes hard, compact soil and clay into open workable soil, aiding drainage of wet soils and increasing water penetration and aeration! And applied some lime to help neutralise the acidity. I’ll wait to see what happens.
Bring back my mixed weed lawn – life was so much simpler then!