Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What to do about moss?

Here's the "Question of the Day" for March 25, 2015:

Dear Paul,

After putting lime on my yard, can I put approximately 2 inches of topsoil over it and plant grass seed? I will be covering the moss.


Dear Mark,

Unfortunately, this is the wrong time of year to plant tall fescue. Also, if you have moss you want to eliminate, it's important to address the underlying cause. Yes, pH could be contributing, so lime may help (get a soil sample to be sure and to find out how much you actually need). But moss is also associated with shade. If that's the case and you don't let more light in (e.g. by removing or limbing up trees) then the moss will probably return. Moss is also associated with compacted soil. Just covering up compacted soil with 2 inches of top soil won't give you enough soil depth to have a healthy lawn.

Here's a better approach:
1. Take a soil sample now. Boxes, forms and instructions are available from your County Extension Center.
2. If shade is an issue, take corrective actions (trim or remove trees as needed).
3. Late this summer, apply fertilizer to correct any lime or nutrient deficiencies identified in the soil test report.
4. Bring in topsoil if possible.
5. Till to a depth of at least 4 inches to mix existing soil with topsoil and the lime and fertilizer you applied.
6. Broadcast a turf type tall fescue blend in early September, mulch with straw and water lightly but frequently until seed germinates.

For complete details, you may want to download a copy of NCSU's Carolina Lawns from:

Alternatively, and I promise I'm not being facetious, learn to appreciate moss! Many gardeners find it an attractive and welcome part of the landscape.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March Edition of Garden Path Newsletter

Click below to download the latest edition of the Garden Path Newsletter, written and published by the Vance/Warren Extension Master Gardener Volunteers. Be sure to check out the Plant of the Month, Herb of the Month, timely tips and much more!