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5 lawn myths in a fact check

When it comes to lawn care, there are some myths that persist among amateur gardeners and that you come across again and again in books, magazines and on the Internet. On closer inspection, however, they often turn out to be incorrect or at least incomplete. Here we clear up five common misinformation.

1. Less fertilizer means less mowing effort

Basically, it is true that regular fertilization of the lawn makes it grow faster and you tend to have to mow it more often. For real lawn fans, however, reducing the amount of nutrients is not an alternative: a lawn that suffers from a lack of nutrients becomes gaps and weeds very quickly. In the end, the time it takes to renew the unkempt lawn or even to create a new one is much higher than that for a few additional mowing dates per season.

With these 5 tips, moss no longer has a chance
Credit: MSG / Camera: Fabian Primsch / Editor: Ralph Schank / Production: Folkert Siemens

2. Liming helps against moss

There are some types of moss, such as the peat moss (Sphagnum), which preferentially or even exclusively grow in acidic soil. The moss Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus, which is widespread in the lawn and bears the German name Sparriger Wrinkled Brother or Sparriges Kranzmoos, is not one of them. It is extremely location tolerant and feels equally comfortable in acidic to alkaline locations. The nutrient content of the soil also has no direct influence on moss growth. For this reason, the frequently read recommendation to simply lime the lawn when there is strong moss growth is extremely questionable.

There are basically only two factors that promote the growth of moss: an evenly moist, often compacted soil and a limited vitality of the lawn grasses. If you want to combat the moss in your lawn, you should therefore not simply lime it, but first do some research into the cause: A simple pH test from a gardening specialist will tell you whether the soil really lacks lime and a soil analysis in the laboratory will also show how it is about the nutrient content of the soil. Only with this knowledge and the fertilizer recommendations derived from it should you then supply the lawn with lime and lawn fertilizer if necessary.

Anyone who has laid a lawn on very loamy soil that is prone to compaction should remove the moss from the lawn every spring and improve the topsoil in the long term by applying a layer of sand around two centimeters high over the long term. It is generally not advisable to use moss killers from specialist gardeners, as they only combat the symptoms. Instead, scarify your lawn - this is just as effective and much more environmentally friendly.

3. The lawn must not be watered in the midday sun

If you water large-leaved plants in the midday sun from above, the so-called magnifying glass or magnifying glass effect sometimes arises: The spherical raindrops break the sunlight and concentrate it on a tiny spot on the leaf, where the leaf tissue can then be burned at certain points. However, this effect hardly plays a role in lawns - on the one hand the drops are very small because of the narrow leaves, on the other hand the leaves of the grass are more or less vertical, so that the angle of incidence of sunlight on the leaf is very acute.

Another argument against irrigating the lawn at noon is the strong cooling of the soil, which allegedly impairs growth. It is true that early morning is the best time for watering even with lawns - in case of doubt, watering the lawn at noon is still better than another six to eight hours of heat and drought.

4. You must not fertilize new lawn

The belief that newly sown lawns should not be fertilized for the first year is very popular. The explanation for this is that the young plants first have to take root well and should therefore not be spoiled too much with nutrients. However, experience shows the opposite: The sowing season is particularly critical because the sward is still very gaps and leaves a lot of space for weeds to germinate. So you have to make sure that the new lawn becomes dense as quickly as possible, and an optimal supply of nutrients is very important for this. For this reason, you spread a fast-acting starter fertilizer immediately when sowing and fertilize with a normal long-term lawn fertilizer about four to six weeks later.

5. Shade lawn is perfect for less sunny corners

Even if the seed manufacturers never tire of offering their "shadow lawn" in specialist garden shops, there are still no satisfactory seed mixtures for shady areas in the garden. The typical lawn grasses are all sun worshipers and do not form a dense sward in the shade. It is true that there is the L├Ągerrispe (Poa supina), a grass species suitable for lawns that still grows relatively dense even in less sunny places. However, it is not suitable as the sole component of a shaded lawn, but must be mixed with other lawn grasses that are less shade-friendly. If you want to create a shady lawn, the area should be at least partially shaded, i.e. in the sun for a while. Do not mow the partially shaded areas any deeper than five centimeters and make sure there is a good water supply, especially on lawns under the treetops.