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News / Life / Clark County Life

Gardening with Allen: Now a good time to treat lawn

By Allen Wilson
Published: March 4, 2023, 6:02am

I have moss growing in my lawn and shrub beds. It is turning my lawn brown. What is the best way to get rid of it? Will fertilizer turn my grass dark green?

Moss grows naturally in high rainfall and acid soils, particularly in shady areas. Moss-control products containing iron will kill moss on the soil and plants and turn it black. Then the moss dries up and becomes part of the soil.

Be careful to keep the moss control off of adjacent concrete because it stains a rust color, which is hard to remove. If you have moss on adjacent wood or concrete, it can be controlled with a separate product containing zinc. The iron in moss-control products also helps turn grass a darker green color.

Some moss control products also contain fertilizer. This fertilizer will give an immediate boost in growth. However, I would recommend applying a more complete fertilizer with slow-release nitrogen in a month or two. It will continue to release nitrogen through the summer. The most common form of slow release is to coat nitrogen granules with a poly coating. Organic fertilizers such as Milorganite are also naturally slow release.

March or early April is a good time to fertilize your other permanent plants, such as trees, shrubs and perennial flowers. I usually use lawn fertilizer for my trees and shrubs and a general purpose fertilizer for perennial flowers. General purpose fertilizers contain equal parts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium such as 12-12-12 or 16-16-16.

Lime is also effective in discouraging moss growth because it makes the soil less acid. However it takes iron to give the quick kill. It is a good idea to apply lime to lawns and other plants once a year. Lime should not be applied to rhododendrons, azaleas, blueberries and other acid-loving plants.

This also a good time to get rid of winter weeds while they are still small. One swipe now with a hoe will take out a dozen weeds. Not only are they harder to remove when they are larger but they go to seed quickly and scatter their seeds creating a larger problem. My favorite weeding tool is a hula hoe with flexible blade that is sharp on both sides.

If you have broad leaf weeds in your lawn, use a combination weed and feed product which kills the weeds at the same time you are fertilizing.