Back Yard Help - shade, roots, moss, erosion

Discussion in 'Homeowner Assistance Forum' started by mikeatrpi, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. mikeatrpi

    mikeatrpi LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hey! I've been lurking this site for product advice for a while and finally joined because I'm determined to do something about my back yard.

    My back yard is hilly. I have a lot of trees, and exposed roots. I have many bare patches and a lot of moss, not much grass.

    I believe I have a moisture and shade problem. I am trimming back a lot of limbs to let in more sun. In fact, winter was pretty hard on some of my birch trees and they haven't sprung back upright... might take those out entirely. Next, I am planning to get a load of top soil and seed.

    So how do I kill the moss? Do I have the right idea here? :confused: Thanks!!





  2. mikeatrpi

    mikeatrpi LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

  3. ChiTownAmateur

    ChiTownAmateur LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    You have a large yard and a lot of variables...hills, tree roots, sun/shade, drainage/compaction problems (like the moss).

    You can improve it yourself but I think it would be a difficult and uneven fix over a long period of time. Instead I would suggest you find a pro or two and ask them to come out and build you a renovation plan. In one season you can turn it all around and have a beautiful yard but because of the tree roots and compaction problems, you have a big job that requires pro equipment. If you're willing to take on the task, say so and folks here can make suggestions but honestly i think you'll end up getting it done cheaper and faster hiring a pro who does it once and does it right. From there you can do you own maintenance such as mowing, fertilizing, aearating, etc. Believe me that's enough for a homeowner!
  4. jbc1013

    jbc1013 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 23

    Moss is an indicator of acidic soil, along with the moisture.
  5. rdsmith3

    rdsmith3 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    I think the advice about hiring a pro is good. You're going to need to have it aerated, etc.

    I have not done that, but I need to. My lawn has some similar issues (except no tree roots).

    I have had about 7 old oak trees removed, and also put down lime every year. Both have helped the lawn to look much better.
  6. mikeatrpi

    mikeatrpi LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Thank you for the advice! I was worried that a professional might be required here. I generally try to DIY - I'm good mechanically; less so with the yard, but I am willing to learn.

    My simplistic view is this:
    Cut the lower branches off most trees and the bent Birch trees to allow more sunlight
    Kill the moss with some lime and scotts products.
    Get a load of top soil to cover the roots with 6 inches of dirt
    Seed on top.

    However, I'm probably way off the mark!
  7. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    You do not want 6" of soil brought in to cover the roots... Besides the fact of damage to the trees, 6" of loose soil on a hillside will settle unevenly and soak up a lot of water, then bust loose into a mudslide...

    Don't worry about the moss, bury it along with the roots, and it will become fertilizer for the grass roots in no time...

    2-3 inches of topsoil will be adequate over the barren roots, gently rake in the shady mix seed of fescue and rye, and gently soak it all down and let is settle in without creating washouts...

    If you can afford the floating row cover or a grass mat that would be best for preserving your hillside, otherwise settle in some shredded straw for the slope and keep it moist... In the shade you do not want fertilizer right away... Your top soil should be fertile enough to allow the roots to grow to their maximum potential before using its energy to grow topside...
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Be sure to settle in the soil with enough water, over a couple of warm dry days, before covering, with what ever you decide to cover it with... Remember the cover is only to protect from rain washing it all away...

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