I received this question from a reader who posted on a comment in March 2017 on my blog post about dog lichen.
We have dog lichen in our garden for about five years and are unable to get rid of it. We have decided to re lawn but are wondering how we should treat the soil before turfing. The garden borders are really dry due to neighbours having well established trees and us having a number of bushes.
Would the lawn benefit if we dug up our bushes and had a full lawn. Colourful plants would probably grow better in pots anyway.
Thank you for any advice you can give.
If the soil is very dry then I expect it is also very compacted. This will be a problem for the grass as it prevents it from putting down a good root system. Shallow grass roots mean slow growth. The lawn will look brown and lifeless and becomes an ideal spot for dog lichen and moss to grow.
The priority for your lawn is to try to bring some life back into the soil. A good soil is the key to a good lawn and garden.
The lawn may not be any better off if you remove the adjoining shrubs. That is unless they are very large and block out light to the grass. Shrubs will generally do better in the soil rather than in pots and will be easier to maintain.
Great soil is the key to a great lawn
Depending on how bad the soil is, you have a couple of options.
You can aerate it and top dress it with a good quality compost. I would also give the lawn a good feed and a soil conditioner to stimulate organic activity again. Do this a couple of times over the growing season, keep it watered and you will see a great improvement in the grass.
If it is very compacted it may be better to lift the turf and dig over the whole area. Getting lots of air into the soil will bring it back to life. Also incorporate some compost or topsoil, feed and re-seed with a new grass.
If you look after your soil the grass will thrive and the dog lichen will not come back.
Hope this is useful, thanks for reading