Dandelions and moss in lawns

Asked May 10, 2014, 12:36 AM EDT

Our lawn consists mostly of dandelions and mosses. There are some grasses but I don't know what they are. The lawn used to be better than it now is. It is a very old lawn and is shaded by tall trees/shrubs on the south side (the trees/shrubs have to stay for a privacy screen) and I think it is quite wet and the soil is "heavy" and is bumpier that it used to be. The surface slopes slightly south and west which I don't want to change. I would like to renovate the lawn. Should the dandelions be killed before attempting to get rid of the moss? How can I smooth out the site without leveling it? Can I add seed to it now? We live in Corvallis, Benton County, Oregon. Thank you.

Benton County Oregon

2 Responses

Sound like you have several problems with your lawn area. To start, you don't want to seed until the problems are corrected. Here is an OSU pamphlet on ridding your lawn of moss: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/how-get-rid-moss-your-lawn. There are several factors that make your lawn a 'home' for moss. Lack of sun is one, but since you don't want to prune your trees and shrubs that fix doesn't apply. The next one is to change the pH of the soil where the moss is growing. You probably would want to do this even if you kill the moss with one of the many products that are available at your local nurseries. Next you need to get rid of the weeds. A good herbicide is the easiest way to do this. The product for this effort is also available at your local nursery. After your lawn is cleared of the moss and weeds you should turn to improving your soil. Since you have moss and weeds I am guessing that you have not aerated or fertilized for some time? You should do both before reseeding. DO NOT use a ‘weed and feed’ type fertilizer prior to reseeding. Here is an OSU Pamphlet that will give you information on fertilizer: http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/18906/ec1278.pdf . For the grass seed you plant a mixture with a percentage of fine fescue would be best for your lawn I am providing a link that will give you some options for types of grass seed mixes: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/node/778 . Lastly, here is an excellent OSU Pamphlet on the annual maintenance schedule of your lawn. http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/19232/ec1521.pdf, Good luck!!

Thank you for your response. I had read some of the OSU material that you suggested. Feeling a bit overwhelmed and hoping it is not too late in the Spring to get started on a renovation.