View Full Version : patching lawn

05-16-2007, 12:56 PM
I'm trying to get my lawn to be healthy and am having a few problems. I have lots of tall trees which prevents most of the AM sunlight. We've brought in a couple of tree people but they wanted to leave the trees in and never cut down the trees that are blocking so much of our sunlight. Now I have moss in some spots and patches in other. The spots with the moss seem to have rich soil whereas the bald spots seems to have very dry and silty soil. I know its late in the season to be working on this but I was wondering if there was anything I could do for either. For the moss, I have heard that its becase the soil is too damp. I've also been told to try a mix of dawn soap or bleach with water in a spray bottle. I dont know what type of application I should be using in terms of ratio and quantity per sq ft. I'm reaching my wits end. Its been a persistent problem for years. The other spots that are bare and where the soil is very dry, I've tried putting down some lyme with some seed. Is there a quicker way to get my lawn going? I was reading in other posts that we should mow the lawn not too high and quite often. How often is too often per week? I mow it every week as it is so is 2x or 3x in a 7 day period too often? Also what are the general rules of thumb to keep a healthy lawn each year? Such as when do I start the prep, what kind of weed and feed do I use, lyme? Any nitrates?


05-17-2007, 08:49 PM
Hey greenfinger....several things going on here. Treating moss with pesticides is only a temporary fix. Aerate the heck out of the areas to improve soil drainage, cuz that's the root of the problem. Seed these areas with "fine fescue" grasses (tolerate shade a little better than others but not much). Even then, I'm sure you will still have problems in the heavy shade areas, so you might end up increasing your "landscaping" with hostas, Vinca minor ground cover etc. Keep in mind that no turfgrass will do well in heavy shade. Kentucky bluegrass requires at least 4 hours of sunlight. Fescues need 2 or 3hours of sunlight. Prune up the trees if appropriate (I hate butchering trees) and/or consider shade-tolerant ground covers (Vinca minor is my favorate) and shade tolerant ornamentals.

The only shady lawns I see that have turf under trees are those with irrigation systems. Trees have "driplines" ... i.e. when it rains, the rain drips off to the the perimeter of the canopy of the trees...under the treews remain dry.

No miracle cure here. Good luck, american.

05-18-2007, 01:18 AM
I have a pair of lawn shoes that I found (dont know where they came from). Would using those or one of the machines that leaves holes in the ground help with the aeration?

Anything I can do about the really dry/balding areas of the lawn that seem to be "burned" and have very dry and cracked dirt? Or is that an aeration issue as well.


05-18-2007, 08:17 AM

How close are you to White Plains?

I've sold Turf & Ornamental supplies in your area for over 15 years. You will need a comprehensive "shade lawn program" to solve this issue IF it can be improved to your satisfaction at all. Westchester County is a long settled area that is loaded with beautiful tall mature tree lots. Managing turf under these conditions is "challenging" but not impossible.

Compaction, drainage, soil pH & the light needs of the turf all need to be considered. There is no "silver bullet" solution however I have some ideas to share with you.

Get a soil test done. Acidic soils favor moss but just liming the lawn without knowing the pH solves nothing.

"Aeration shoes" might help a little if you use them frequently enough. Core aerating helps a lot more but if you get too close to the tree's root flare you'll block the aerator tines from penetrating AND damage the roots you hit.

See Greg at Valley Green on Belway Place in White Plains. I think he has some Ferrous Sulfate in stock. If he doesn't I'll order a bag for you to pick up there. It is an Iron fertilizer that kills moss. Cheap too.

Dawn dish-washing detergent contains an algaecide that will also help. Make a tank mix per the instructions I will give him & spray it on the mossy areas.

You might wish to consult another Arborist. Chopping trees down just to grow grass is pretty silly but thinning & lifting the canopy gently might leave you enough of the best of both worlds.

05-18-2007, 07:57 PM
My land grant university says "lawn shoes" do no good. I suggest you contact your local land grant university or your local extension service (they typically like to recommend woody & non-woody perennials in shady areas instead of turf).
I agree with tremor. You can always replace a lawn, but you can't replace a mature tree.
Moss isn't always a bad thing -- some people actually have moss gardens.

Bottom line: Grow the right type of plant for the specific location. Sometimes one has to have an open mind - example: We have a couple of properties where it's so shady that creeping Charlie is the only thing that grows, so we don't kill it out.

05-21-2007, 01:28 AM
Tremor I'm about 30-40 minutes North of White Plains in Katonah/Cross River area. I'll try some of the stuff you recommended. We hired an arborist to try to solve some of the tree problems (blocking so much shade as well as growing too close to the house). Unfortunately for us, he was more interested in raising trees than anything else so none of the problems got done. I'm trying to fell a rather tall tree myself from possibly falling on the house. Does Greg at Valley Green have an address? I will try to get down to see him this week and pick up the Ferrous Sulfate and try it like you recommend.

Also I still havent gotten a response about the silty soil. Anything I can do about that? I've heard that putting worms in the soil really fertilizes it. any truth to this?


05-21-2007, 08:49 AM
18 Belway Place
If you came down 120 to Lake Street go through Silver Lake & turn right onto the old end of Main Street. Just past Delfino Park the road turns left where I-287 cut Main St. That first warehouse on the right is us.

Soils that are poor due to a lack of organic matter are classed sand, clay or silt (depends on the size of the mineral particle components). The best way to improve all of them is to add organic materials. Aerating & then topdressing with aged compost, Peat Moss or even well aged manure helps improve silt soils. Using 1 or more all organic fertilizers in the program every year also helps.

In addition to "conventional" Lawn Care supplies, we also stock a very complete line of organic fertilizers to meet the market demands found in Westchester.

I'll call Greg to see if he has the Iron Sulfate in stock. If not I'll get it for him.