Hello fellow garden lovers

I’ve had my lawn for about 7 years since the turf was laid by the landscaper. Pictures attached. I’ve had a lawn care company attend about 3 times a year to apply feed, herbicides etc. Not this year due to COVID. As I now have access to the professional nutrients I’ve decided to take care of it myself.

The lawn had a large amount of moss this year mainly around the now black area. I applied the correct amount of Sportsmaster Renovator Pro(https://www.green-tech.co.uk/fertilisers/lawn-and-turf-care/sportsmaster-renovator-pro-feed-weed-mosskiller-14-0-5fe-fertiliser) which has done wonders for the most of the lawn and as you would expect the moss patches turned black. However, when Ienter image description here would gently rake it would tear clumps of moss and the supporting soil. To add insult to injury the foxes have been doing their bit with scratching and scatting. Unhelpful!

My original plan was to aerate( the lawn has suffered from bad drainage issue over the years, as it’s on London clay), scarify and overseed at the end of the summer. However, I’ve now got a 30mm clumpy differential between the soil and the base of the turf. As a side note when I tested my new Bulldog garden fork for aeration there was a little lift in the turf in certain parts of the lawn.

My options as I see it, are:

a/ try and fill the affected area with soil(??) and sow seed. I fear this will create an uneven lawn. b/ cut a square fill the affected area with soil(??) and sow seed. This may be easier to get even c/ admit defeat, buy turf and replace the offending area.

I’d really appreciate any input or advice.

Many thanks Symon!]2

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    Aug 21, 2020 at 6:11

1 Answer 1


It's best to get a bag of topsoil and fill in the area with that, tamp it down and level off, ensuring it is flush everywhere it abuts the existing turf, and sow seed. The drawback is you can't walk on that area other than very lightly occasionally for 6 weeks; it's three months for normal use (frequently walking on it or running around on or laying on it) by which time it should be firmly rooted in, have been cut 3 times and be growing strongly. However, the alternative of buying a little turf to do the job is much more difficult; it is no easy task to get new turf level with existing turf. If it's not six weeks or more since you spread the lawn preparation you used, you will have to wait till it is, or any seed you sow may not grow. Note that you will need to cut the seed lawn for the first two cuts with shears or borrow a hover mower, since,from the stripes in the lawn, it seems you have a cylinder mower - that will rip the seed out by the roots if you use that to do these two cuts. If the blades of your mower aren't terribly sharp, you will need to use shears for the third cut too.

There seem to be bleached areas here and there around the missing turf; I can't tell if these patches are moss or bleached out grass, but these areas, and the fact you say the turf seems to lift easily in some places, may indicate the presence of leatherjackets or possibly chafer grubs in your lawn. These pests eat the roots of grass and other plants - birds often peck at lawns where these are present, and foxes may be interested in eating the grubs too. If your lawn is currently nice and damp from the recent rain, lay a dark plastic sheet or tarpaulin over it one evening - lift it in the morning,and if there are leatherjackets, they should be on the surface for you to see. More info on this problem here https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=651 with an embedded link to information on chafer bugs.

If there is no problem with infestation, check your mower blades are sharp enough and cut cleanly.

  • Thank you very much for that insight. Will do as you say. My mower is a Hayter electric and has a singular spinning blade( with a ridged roller at the rear), so I'm guessing should be fine for the cut? When placing the new topsoil, would you use wooden boards to compress and gain uniformity?
    – SDM72
    Aug 23, 2020 at 18:27
  • After spreading the soil out with a rake and tamping it down with that (by holding the rake vertically and using the head of the rake flat, horizontally) a straight board is very helpful for leveling off, but its best to walk all over it closely on your heels first, then rake up the top,and then use the board to get it level, rather than compressing it with a board.
    – Bamboo
    Aug 24, 2020 at 10:24
  • Hey Oracle Bamboo
    – SDM72
    Sep 2, 2020 at 21:39
  • Yes, SDM72? was there something?
    – Bamboo
    Sep 2, 2020 at 21:49
  • Seems I have to post this in two halves: Following your sage advice I’ve established I do indeed have a chafer grub invasion alongside my moss issue. Would you be kind enough to comment on what I think might be the way forward? As follows: • Scarify the lawn using a broad metal tine rake, knowing this will tear further lawn( diseased) layers. • Aerate the lawn using a Bulldog garden fork. I have a manual hollow tine aerator, alas it doesn’t dispense the earth cores. Are the shoes any good or just a novelty?
    – SDM72
    Sep 2, 2020 at 22:11

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