Weeds & Moss
WEEDS – Weeds are a common problem in gardens throughout the world. If your lawn is not kept well fed and nourished then weeds will begin to develop. Joe’s always use the latest ‘state of the art’ fertilisers on the market to offer the correct balance of feed during the changing seasons. We treat your lawn with a non-scorch granular treatment for a greener lawn, and spray a range of selective herbicides to kill off any persistent problem weeds.
MOSS – Of all the problems associated with lawns and turf, moss is probably the most common and frustrating. Year after year many people treat, kill and remove moss from their lawns only to see it return again. Unless you correct the underlying conditions that cause this problem it will keep returning. Moss can be tackled in a variety of ways. One of the more effective methods is through Scarification where the cause of the moss is addressed by removing the surface thatch on which the moss is growing. Check out our SCARIFICATION page for more details.
Keep scrolling down the page to learn more about the weeds that affect your lawn. Still unsure then Ask Joe:
Speedwell can survive in all soil types but it particularly enjoys moist, nutrient rich soils and can tolerate low mowing. It is important to remove clippings whilst mowing the lawn, failure to do so helps this weed to spread. Scarification may prove beneficial in reducing numbers, however if the infestation is more widespread a chemical weed killer will be needed for treatment. Speedwell is a difficult weed to control. Joe’s range of professional herbicides will always be more effective than those available for amateur gardeners.
Yarrow, also known as ‘Milfoil’, is a perennial weed common on all types of lawns in the UK, however it particularly thrives in nutrient deficient, dry and sandy soils. Yarrow is often an indicator that your lawn is suffering from a lack of nutrition! Yarrow leaves have a fern like feathery appearance and give off a fragrance if rubbed or crushed. If present, small white flowers can be visible from June to October. It has deep fibrous roots to withstand extremely dry conditions and it spreads by creeping stems which root at intervals. Regular mowing will help prevent Yarrow from flowering and producing seed. Keeping the lawn in a healthy condition by increasing the soil fertility will help suppress Yarrow. For a large infestation of Yarrow a selective herbicide will have to be used to eradicate this weed and more than one application will be needed for successful control. Joe’s range of professional products will be more effective against Yarrow than amateur retail products.
Mind-your-own-business (sometimes known as the equally odd “baby’s tears”) is a creeping perennial with tiny rounded leaves. Despite looking pretty in cracks in paving, it re-grows from the smallest stem sections and can soon get out of control. However it is especially difficult to control on the lawn! MYOB forms dense, slowly spreading mats of bright green foliage. It bears minute white flowers in summer. The overall height is a mere 2inches but spread is indefinite. This is a difficult plant to control, as it regenerates easily from any small sections of stem over-looked when weeding or hoeing. Often grass clippings that contain stem sections may survive the composting process, causing the weed to be further spread around the garden. Joe’s can take care of this for you before it becomes your business!
Selfheal is a member of the mint family and is a common weed on all types of lawn throughout the UK. It can be found on all types of lawn and will tolerate both dry and moist soils. This perennial weed spreads by creeping runners which root at intervals and as such it can quite happily grow and enjoy life in closely mown areas of turf. Selfheal leaves come in oval shaped pairs and can have a smooth or slightly hairy surface. In areas where the turf is closely mown the leaves can have a purple tinge to them. Selfheal flowers purple from June to October, and again have a pair of leaves underneath them. Regular mowing will help suppress seed head production. Like most weeds, Selfheal can be prevented by maintaining a strong healthy grass cover throughout your lawn. Selfheal is often an easy weed to control and for a widespread problem one of Joe’s selective herbicide will take care of it in 1 or 2 treatments.
The bane of gardeners’ lives up and down the country! To effectively control moss it is essential to find the causes and correct them. The following conditions can cause moss:
- Poor surface drainage – A wet or damp lawn surface encourages fern and tufted type mosses
- Mowing the lawn to short – Mowing the grass to short causes the grass to become weak and inviting moss to invade. (see our mowing advise section of ‘Ask Joe’ for more information)
- Too much shade – Shaded lawns suffer from frequent moss problems due to the lack of sunlight resulting in a thin sward
- Drought – During dry summers it is important to irrigate to avoid any loss of grass resulting in a thin sward
- Acidic conditions – Moss prefers acidic conditions
An infertile lawn – Any lawn deficient in essential nutrients is prone to having a weak and thin coverage of grass, leaving it open for moss invasion
Some of these conditions above are easily rectified as they are simply caused by poor practices. However some of them can take more time to correct as they are problems within your soil or lawn. Nevertheless with the correct treatment program from Joe’s you will be able to gradually reduce any moss problems on your lawn. Although moss can be a problem at any time, it causes the biggest headache throughout the winter months and early spring time when the lawn is wettest and most shaded. Once your moss has been removed you may be left with some thin or bare areas. These areas should be OverSeeded to aid recovery (Check out our OverSeeding page for more information). Don’t worry too much about this as Joe’s lawn treatment programmes contain a feed to help speed up recovery!
Pests & Diseases
Unfortunately your lawn is like many other garden plants and is just as prone to getting its fair share of unwanted pests & diseases. Pests such as Leatherjackets and Chafer Grubs can cause untold damage to lawns whilst several diseases can leave your lawn requiring serious renovation and repair. Joe’s can help!
Keep scrolling down the page to learn more about the pests & diseases that affect your lawn. If you think your lawn may be infested just Ask Joe:
Ant hills can disfigure lawns they usually appear in summer and are especially prevalent in damp conditions. They can be dispersed by brushing the soil when conditions are dry. Most ant species build underground nests. Worker ants dig tunnels and chambers in the soil and as the colony grows, workers add more tunnels and chambers to the nest. As such, over time if left untreated the lawn may become uneven. Ants can also damage roots which may cause yellowing of the grass
Ant colonies can grow to be quite large:
- Their nests may reach 6 meters below the ground
- A group of nests may cover an area as large as a tennis court
- Millions of ants may live in these nests
Whilst we are at it, here are some further interesting Ant Facts:
- There are more than 12,000 species of ants all over the world
- An ant can lift 20 times its own body weight
- Some queen ants can live for many years and have millions of babies!
- Ants don’t have ears. Ants “hear” by feeling vibrations in the ground through their feet
- When foraging, ants leave a pheromone trail so that they know where they’ve been
- Queen ants have wings, which they shed when they start a new nest
- When the queen of the colony dies, the colony can only survive a few months
- Importantly for you, ants can be controlled by treating with Joe’s specialist products and pesticides.
Recently in Britain we have enjoyed long warm summers and warmer than average winters. (Whose complaining?!) These mild winters have resulted in an explosion in the population of Daddy Longlegs. These flies lay their eggs in grassed areas – usually lawns. Over the winter and spring period, the eggs hatch and the resultant larvae, called Leatherjackets, feed off the roots and young shoots of the lawn. This can have a devastating effect on a lawn. Leatherjackets are legless, brown/grey in colour and can grow up to 4cm long. Normally, a prolonged hard frost will control the number of these lawn pests, but recent mild winters have caused their number to increase dramatically!
The Chafer Grub is the larvae of the May Bug and will again cause widespread damage to lawns. In some cases the roots of a lawn can be so seriously damaged that the turf can be rolled up like a carpet.
Other than the appearance and health of the turf deteriorating, a good indication of the existence of both leatherjackets and chafer grubs is the congregating of birds on the lawn, digging into the turf to feed on the pests. Unfortunately this is not a satisfactory control method!
This disease is often seen on lawns in the UK from mid-Summer through to Autumn time and it can develop on all lawn types. It is a fairly minor disease that in most cases does relatively little damage, but can drastically spoil a lawns appearance. It is spread by spores within the air.
Red Thread can leave patches of turf in a ‘straw like’ brown condition, which gives the entire lawn an all over mottled effect, which looks unsightly. Studied closely you may be able to see red needles or pink ‘cotton-wool’ like growth on the affected areas. This is the manifestation of the fungus. More often than not, the disease will run its course and as the turf grows the disease becomes less obvious.
On many occasions an application of Joe’s fertiliser is more than sufficient to promote lawn growth.
Fusarium, sometimes called snow mould, is a common cause of brown patches on lawns, particularly in Autumn or during mild Winter spells. The disease is sometimes very noticeable after thaws of snow, when it is given the common name of snow mould.
Fusarium is one of the most damaging diseases for turf grasses and can be difficult to control. The disease is first noticed as small patches of yellowish dying grass that later turn brown, increase in size and often merge together.
Improved drainage can help keep Fusarium at bay by ensuring that the lawn dries rapidly after dews or rainfall. This can be done by a combination of Scarifying and Aeration. (Check out these sections for more information on what these processes involve.)
Lichens are neither plant nor fungus but a combination of both. They are very unattractive and generally will only live on problem soils where they can out compete the grass quite easily.
The most sensible approach in tackling Lichens is to address the cause of the problem. This will quite often be dry and compacted soils, heavy thatch, poor nutrition and general poor lawn care.
Treatment is the same as for moss, therefore Scarifying to initially remove the lichen present in your lawn is the most beneficial process. Aerating and regular feeding should remove the problem from a lawn and help prevent its return.
For particularly poor lawns with heavy moss and lichen, OverSeeding may be required. For more information on any of these treatments just check out the relevant page or Ask Joe!