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Raking is the preferred method for removing moss. For small lawns a wire ‘spring bok’ or fan rake will do but it’s much easier with a hand lawn scarifier. For larger lawns a powered lawn raker or scarifier with wire tines would be best.
Moss produces spores generally in April. In Eastbourne it will be early, in Lanark it’ll be late and in Malvern the middle part of the month; as a rule, but not guaranteed! It spores again in September. Therefore, doing the business before sporing, if possible is generally a good idea.
‘If possible’ can be a problem though. When performing any ‘invasive’ treatment to the lawn we need the lawn to be able to recover and repair itself in as short a time as possible afterward. If it doesn’t then you may swap a weed problem for your moss problem! Not a good idea, so this means warmth, fertiliser and moisture must be available to get the grass recovering.
Therefore, leaving the raking until April (but before sporing) allows things to warm up a little. There is usually plenty of moisture around and the timing will be right for a fertiliser application afterwards.
In autumn, just wait until the rains start. This will fire off the moss but will also mean the grass can recover with the rain and late September sun.
The most common procedure is to apply a ferrous sulphate based moss killer to kill the moss, wait a couple of weeks and then rake the moss out. The reasoning is that you can spread the moss to other parts of your lawn if it is alive thus causing an even bigger problem.
My alternative method is:
Note: If applying ferrous sulphate after raking which is to be followed by seeding you should use a soluble product such as Lawnsmith Green-up Ferrous Sulphate NOT a dry granular one such as Lawnsmith Winter Green. This is because dry products are slower to react and may effect the seedlings.
Perhaps the real benefit of applying a moss killer prior to raking is that the moss killer will desiccate the moss to some degree thereby reducing its bulk. So, if you have a bad enough problem applying a moss killer before and after raking may be very beneficial. Allow several weeks between treatments with the applications being made in cool wet conditions otherwise you will start to blacken the grass. In addition ensure your moss killer is low on fertiliser (nitrogen) content as a double application may cause growth or disease problems. Straight iron sulphate based moss killer would be the preferred choice in this instance.
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