Lawn was set 28 years ago. The lawn was planted in June and a prolonged dry period followed. Grass was slow to appear,but weeds took off immediately. I suspect that sub soil was used, rather than top soil, when the lawn was set. In Winter or during damp summers, moss appears in most parts of the lawn. Over the years the lawn hasn't really improved. Grass seems to suffer greatly even after a short dry period. Should I now take up the lawn completely and bring in new top soil, should I dig it up, clean off weeds, moss etc and lay new seed again or this there a Plan C? What is the best time of year to attempt this work?

  • What part of the world is the lawn in and how important is it to look perfect? As the saying goes "You can have it: fast, good or cheap. Pick two"
    – kevinskio
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 11:09
  • 1
    I'd echo the 'where are you' query and also wonder what you mean by the lawn was planted or set - does that mean turf (sods) or seed? And is the lawn in a shady area?
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 13:14
  • 1
    lawn, and weeds are the same thing. Some lawn plants are less desirable than others. Commented Jul 25, 2018 at 22:25
  • if you are seeing moss, I'm guessing the area either doesn't get much sun OR the area is in a depression that holds water. Both conditions are detrimental to turf growth. You would need to choose seed varieties that are shade tolerant and not too finicky about water. Fescues tend to tolerate shade better than the bluegrasses. If your concern is mostly about aesthetics vs playing croquet or some other activity, I would highly recommend trying a native grass like Agrostis perennans or Deschampsia flexuosa. Both will do well in shady areas and don't need too much attention.
    – That Idiot
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 12:57
  • @Frank Reidy Personally, I would just call a lawn care company. Tell them to come in and scarify, aerate and fertilize the lawn this season. If it hasn't recovered by the end of the season then you can think about getting new sod.
    – Rob
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 15:45

1 Answer 1


Do not worry about the use of subsoil versus topsoil. I've seen sod laid out over 5/8 minus gravel in our yard and THRIVE. Amazing.

Are you set on seeding your lawn? I would call around to get bids on a lawn seed spray company. Gosh I am hoping you are in the northern latitudes with cool season grasses. Those I know very well. I prefer using sod, worth every penny and I've never seen that sod was a worrisome expenditure or even a noticeable expenditure.

If you have warm season grasses, use St. Augustine. I've got the guy who knows St. Augustine very well...his videos that I have perused and was very impressed by.

Just wacking down the grasses and weeds (before producing seed hopefully) then raking and rolling !!!!! filling in depressions then raking and rolling again is all you need to prepare your lawn for sod...again.

If you send pictures we could be help you decide to use a sod cutter to remove the top 2" of weed seed filled soil and organic debris if necessary before new sod. Sod is great as it smothers weed seeds quite well.

If you are able to get a vigorously growing grass crop that crop will be able to out compete any weeds. If you are using a cool season grass seed mix, or St. Augustine, you have to learn maintenance techniques such as mowing HEIGHT. How to water correctly to train the roots to be drought tolerant. How to fertilize correctly. How to sharpen your blades sharp sharp sharp...it isn't tough to have a magnificent lawn, just need to know how this monster the lawn works!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.