Weeds usually come up thickly in newly sown lawns. They are to be prevented by the use of commercial fertilizers or very clean manure and clean grass-seed. Clean June-grass, or blue-grass, seed is usually best. Grass-seed should be sown very thick — 3 to 5 bushels to the acre — and annual weeds cannot persist long. Frequent mowings during summer will keep these weeds down, and most species will not survive the winter. In old lawns most perennial weeds can be kept down by frequent mowings, with a good lawn-mower. Grass can stand more cutting than weeds. If mowing cannot be practiced often enough for this purpose, the weeds may be cut off below the surface with a long knife or spud, and the crowns are then readily pulled out. Or a little sulfuric acid or other herbicide may be poured on the crown of each plant.
It will usually be found that weedy lawns are those in which the sod is poor and thin. The fundamental remedy, therefore, is to secure a strong sod. This is done by raking or harrowing over the lawn in late spring, when it is somewhat soft, and sowing a liberal dressing of chemical fertilizer and grass-seed. Roll the land down level. All poor spots in lawns should be repaired in this manner every year. The use of fresh and coarse stable manure on lawns should be discouraged, both because it is offensive and because it generally abounds in weeds.
Moss on lawns and walks.
In damp and shady places, and also in sterile places, moss may appear on walks and lawns. If the conditions cannot be improved, the following treatments may be tried: One pound oil of vitriol (sulfuric acid) to ten quarts of water. Wet the surface thoroughly, being careful not to sprinkle edgings or good sod.
In early spring when the ground is soft, work it backwards and forwards with a long-toothed rake, in order to bring the moss to the surface. Clear away the moss, and leave the ground untouched for a fortnight. Early in March repeat the operation, and about the middle of that month apply a dressing of rich compost, which may consist of any old rubbish well decomposed, adding one-sixth of fresh lime. Mix with compost a few days before using. Cover the ground with the compost at the rate of 200 barrow-loads per acre, passing it through a 3/4-inch sieve, to save the trouble of "rolling. Rake it evenly over the surface, and when dry seed down. An English method.
Endeavor to improve the sod, as recommended on page 232, and thereby drive out the moss. In shady places, where grass will not grow, plant some shade-loving plant, as periwinkle (Vinca minor), lily-of-the-valley, violets, moneywort (Lysimachia nummularia), or species of carex. Note the ground-cover plants that grow in shady places in the region.
Moss or Lichen on Trees
Moss on fruit-trees is usually an indication of lack of vigor. Cultivate and prune. Wash the trees with soap or lye washes. Scrape off the bark, exercising care not to expose the " quick," or the tender inner bark. A good scraper is made of a small and much-worn hoe with the handle cut to about two feet long.
The moss is readily destroyed by bordeaux mixture and other good fungicides.