Lawn Analysis

Asked May 6, 2020, 2:25 PM EDT

My back lawn and hill have so much moss, plus I get lots of aunts, I would like my dirt analyzed! Who could I contact? I live in Traverse City

Grand Traverse County Michigan

1 Response

The first step in diagnosing lawn problems is to have a soil test done. Read the following and obtain a soil test from MSU. It's $25 and comes with instructions and a pre-paid mailing envelope to return your sample in. You will be emailed a code to access your results online. https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/dont_guess_soil_test_get_your_home_lawn_and_garden_soil_test_kit_...
Moss flourishes when conditions don't support healthy turf. The most common are: (a) low fertility, (b) acidic soils, (c) poor drainage, (d) soil compaction, (e) heavy shade, (f) restricted air movement. Knowing (and improving) your soil conditions and reducing/eliminating site conditions that favor moss will keep it at bay. Over-seeding may be necessary to thicken the lawn as well. If needed use a grass seed tolerant of shade and/or moisture. Here are some articles to read:
https://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/Ag.%20Ext.%202007-Chelsie/PDF/e1516-1986-print2.pdf
https://extension.psu.edu/moss-in-the-lawn
https://lancaster.unl.edu/hort/articles/2006/moss.shtml
https://ag.purdue.edu/btny/ppdl/Pages/POTW2018/POTW04302018.aspx
https://web.extension.illinois.edu/lawntalk/weeds/solving_moss_problems_in_lawns.cfm
Ants are beneficial creatures that can become unwelcome. They (like moss) find it easier to live in thin lawns that are mowed short. Here are some articles on ant control in lawns:
https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/publications/E-22/E-22.html
https://ag.umass.edu/turf/fact-sheets/ants-in-lawns
https://extension.psu.edu/ants-in-home-lawns
https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/1992/8-12-1992/ant.html
More articles (mowing height and shade alternatives) on healthy lawns can be found at this website:
https://www.canr.msu.edu/home_gardening/tip_sheets/