A shaded garden can be a difficult place to create the perfect lawn. While there are specially formulated grass seed mixes that are designed to work well in shade, a regular feeding and caring program is still super important.
So, this article gives you the different jobs, that when done on your lawn, will keep your lawn looking great all year round.
Some tasks include controlling the presence of moss while overseeding to bring new grass through to the surface. Thereby keeping it lush, green and thick.
Apply Moss Killer in Spring & Autumn
Moss is a common problem in shaded gardens. Moss loves shade and wet and will thrive during the cooler months in Autumn & Winter.
To combat moss taking over your garden, you can apply iron sulphate. Iron sulphate is a soluble compound material that gets mixed with water before being sprayed or sprinkled on the lawn. Your iron sulphate solution can be applied using either a watering can or a knapsack sprayer.
The most common rate used on lawns is 4g per m2 to combat moss. So, you can see it doesn’t take much. Once applied, the grass will show a much stronger green colour and the moss will turn black. After that, you can then rake it out to make way for brand new fresh seeds to grow through
It’s always recommended to use moss killer before sowing grass seed. Never apply iron sulphate while the new seed is germinating.
Overseed Regularly With Special Shade-Tolerant Grass Seed
Choosing your grass seed wisely is one of the most important parts of creating and maintaining the desired high-quality lawn in the shade.
Shaded gardens need a mix that can withstand heavy wet soil with minimum sunshine. This is usually a combination of Strong Fescue grasses mixed with slender and chewings fescue.
Aerate The Ground
Aerating the ground can be a tough, time-consuming job. But there are some great tools out there to help you get it done quickly.
Some popular tools include aeration shoes, hollow tine aerators and the simple pitchfork. Even if you can’t aerate the whole lawn in one go (as it can take time), you should definitely try to aerate in the places where the soil is most dense and the moss is most frequently occurring
Apply Top Dressing 70/30 Sand/Soil Mix
When doing your Spring renovation, you should apply a top dressing of 70/30 sand/soil. The sand in the mix will help to improve drainage, while the soil itself will help with seed-to-soil contact when the grass seed is in the germination stage.
It doesn’t really matter whether you seed or apply top dressing first but most professionals suggest it’s best to seed first because the soil can protect the seed from the birds and can even help the little seedlings to get deeper into the soil bed. Thereby achieving a higher germination success rate.
Apply Lawn Sand Containing Added Nitrogen And Iron
Lawn sand is not to be confused with a top dressing. If you buy lawn sand with iron in it, the same applies to using moss killer – don’t apply it on top of germinating grass seed.
However, if your grass is well established, then it’s a great idea to apply a dressing of lawn sand 2-3 times throughout the growing season – that is March to September/October.
Moss is still prevalent in the Summer but it’s often hidden beneath the grass so you can’t see it. If you work your fingers right down, however, then you’ll be able to see that moss is there. Especially when it comes to gardens or lawns that are in the shade.
By working this type of fertilizer sand into your soil bed, you will be neutralising the ability for moss to grow and giving the grass much stronger resistance.
Apply Seasonal Feeds As Normal
Every grass needs regular feed if it’s going to survive the elements. The minimum you should feed it is 4 feeds per year once a season – Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
However, the grass needs different levels of nutrients at each time of year. In Spring & Summer, it needs more nitrogen, whereas in Autumn and Winter it needs more potassium.
All fertilizers have what’s called an N-P-K value. Showing how much of each nutrient, Nitrogen, Phosphate and Potassium, they contain.
In Spring and Summer, you would use a feed that has an NPK of around 18-5-10 meaning there’s a lot more nitrogen. You also need to look for what percentage of the nitrogen is slow-release. Meaning it will feed the grass for up to 10 weeks in comparison to quick release, which gives a quick boost of growth but gets leached into the soil after just a couple of weeks. A good ratio to look for would be 60% quick release and 40% slow release.
In Autumn, you’ll want to aim for an NPK value of around 10-5-10. It still contains a nice dose of nitrogen but much less as we move into the cooler months. It also contains a high amount of potassium to help with photosynthesis as the darker days set in.
Winter feed formulated for shaded gardens is designed for controlling moss and once again helping with photosynthesis. Many Winter Lawn Feeds will contain a small percentage of iron, which kills off moss in the lawn. This means that a typical NPK analysis of winter fertiliser would be 6-5-10 + 6%Fe.
Scarify Once a Year
If you’re able to scarify at least once a year, you’ll be able to remove any dead undergrowth that is stopping the fresh grass from coming through.
You can do any small lawn with a simple rake. If your lawn is over 50m2 then it’s recommended to invest in an electric scarifier because it will save you so much time and you will most likely use it every year.
Reviving your grass after scarifying is also an important task, one that usually includes doing an overseed. An electric scarifier does give the grass a good pulling up, so don’t be dismayed if your lawn looks slightly worse before it looks better.
If you’re wondering when to start, the best time is anywhere between March and November. Although you could start with a Winter Feed between December to Feb, the other tasks are best done outside of the Winter.