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Hi Sara and welcome
You're right in that shade is probably making the moss much worse - we had a similar problem when we moved here as the lawn had been really neglected and apart from shade from the trees, the fallen leaves had been left on them for several winters.
Raking firmly with a lawn rake like this
to remove as much moss and thatch (dried grass at the soil surface) as you can, and spiking the lawn with a fork to increase drainage, and in the spring treat it with a lawn treatment like Evergreen Complete or similar which will kill the moss and weeds and fertilise the grass. Then another raking to remove the dead moss when it's died and turned black - it looks alarming but don't worry, the fertiliser will help the grass spread to cover the bare patches.
Regular mowing (not too short) at least once a week will help - don't put the first frew mowings in the compost bin after the lawn treatment as the weedkiller will contaminate your compost - bag it up and bin it or take it to the tip.
And while the raking is hard work, it's cheaper than a gym membership, and while you're far too young to have flabby upper arms, it's never too late to work on preventing them believe me
Dove, a lovely text book answer. Sara any bare patches in spring can be resown with grass seed for shade, this along with doves advice should see a great improvement.
I live in N Ireland and my lawn is composed of more moss than grass. Would this be a good time of the year to apply ferrous sulphite?. The moss is particularly vigorous at this time.
Still a bit wet tom. I'd leave it till this weather settles, although long range forecasts predict it to continue for some time. I'd leave it till March then see how the weather is developing.
Oh dear! I removed all the moss a couple of years ago, raked over, added fertiliser and re-seeded with shady lawn mix. The grass did quite well last year. I've just been down the garden to the compost bins and the area which was quite grassy last year is now verdant with moss - far worse than last time. It is not actually a shady area, but is on heavy clay. I'm getting a bit too old for all this raking stuff - any ideas?
I have heard that iron oxide/sulfide is the stuff to use but it tends to come in quantities that is far too much to use,for me. Wilko do a box called "lawn sand" for £1.76 (i think) and it does the job for me, just sprinkle on. Read the ingredients on the side of the box and i am sure you will understand.
Its a bit early to use yet but i have had good results in this mild wet winter.
Good link for RHS which also says to be careful of over application of lawn sand as it can blacken and kill grass also.
I think you have to see this as an ongoing problem, there is no quick fix. The key issues are light, drainage and feeding and you never can achieve perfect conditions in real gardens. However, you will improve the situation with regular spiking - use a hollow-tine aerator and then brush in a mix of compost and sand. You can reseed bare bits with a mix made for shade. There are right times of year for this but in my garden I just do a bit when I have the time and energy.(I am no longer 26!) If it is really bad or the garden is big, you can rent or buy machines to help you.
Lawn sand will help deal with the moss - the advantage of using something like Evergreen Complete is that it will fertilise the grass at the same time, so that as the moss dies off the grass will cover the bare patches - two birds with one stone
I think you're right Posy. Like so many things, it's regular maintenance.
Heavy clay will always be harder ggranny. If you can afford it, perhaps it would be worth getting someone in to give the grass some treatment once or twice a year to save you the heavier work. Or embrace and love the moss!
thanks everyone - I'll wait until it stops raining and then consider my options.