By Bev Johnson

Master Gardener

So you have more moss in your yard than grass and this is bothering you why? How could you be so lucky? 

You only need to mow it about twice in the summer to trim off the odd blade of grass. There are few weeds that thrive in a mossy lawn. You don’t have to fertilize it either. It always looks neat and green even in hot dry weather, so what’s your problem friend? Lawn envy? 

If you insist on grass in a mossy area, you will have several problems to overcome. First the shade. You will need to trim your trees up at least 8 feet to get more light under them. Or cut them all down. Either way, this is not a do-it-yourself job. You will need a professional. There is poor fertility in a mossy lawn, and it is usually very compacted. 

The first thing you will need is a soil sample to see what the soil needs amended. Now you will need to till up the soil being very careful not to damage the feeder root of the trees, that is if you left any. Plant grass and water it the rest of the summer. 

Why go though all that just to give yourself more work? Mowing, fertilizing, spraying for weeds. Why not just enjoy the shade and the low maintenance lawn?

  If you spent the winter cussing a house full of ladybugs, be glad it’s summer and they can go to work for you. The larvae eat most any pest. The adults are known to snack on a few too. 

To encourage them to stay in your garden, and not make themselves unwelcome house guests, you need to plant their favorite flowers. They need small, shallow flowers with a nice landing platform and exposed necaries, the place where nectar is produced. These are usually umbral types, that is flat, slightly rounded like an umbrella. 

Besides ladybugs, you want to attract 5 beneficial insect groups; lacewings, syrphid files also called hover flies, mini wasps and tachinid flies. 

Only golden marguerite will attract all of them. Yarrow attracts lacewings and parasitic wasps that prey on caterpillars, aphids, whiteflies and a few other menaces. However, yarrow is also a menace. If it likes your garden, and it never met a garden it didn’t like, it will grow like mad, fill your garden a start eyeing the neighbor’s garden. 

Even the hybrids have this flaw. Other choices that are also menaces are bee balm and catmint. Better behaved flowers are Mimulus (monkey flowers), mums, ajuga, zinnias, calendula, pentstemon, rudbeckia and herbs, dill, parsley, fennel and cilantro. Parsley is a twofer. It is the favorite food of some butterflies. 

To keep invasive plants under control, knock the bottom out of a 5 gallon pail, Bury it where you want the plant leaving about 2 inches of lip exposed. Plant your thug in the bucket. You will eventually need to thin the plant, but you won’t be digging it out of the iris, lilies and driveway, I said they were invasive. 

One invasive you should never plant is snow on the mountain. This monster is almost impossible to eradicate. Petunia wanted to plant it as a border until she saw it growing across a cement driveway. 

Enjoy the good bugs and just pick and drown the bad ones.