What is going on with my patchy lawn? And also a couple of questions about peonies.

(Question)

Hi ,
My lawn has lots of patches from last year, I dug out some grass and did not find any insects there. This year I put on garden soil and over-seeded it  however, it still has lots of patches. Again, I put on some topsoil and reseeded it again. I don’t know if I did it right. I also found my grass in the backyard is dying now, I don’t know if I put on too much fertilizer?

My last question is about my peony. I planted it beside a rose bush last year and the peony already has buds on it. Two of them are only 12inches apart. Do I need to remove one of them. When is the best time to move the peony?
Thanks so much

(Answer)

First, the peony question. Twelve inches apart is not too close for the peony blooms, so do leave both buds in place and enjoy the blooms this summer. Then move the plant in the fall. You can read a good University researched guide on relocating a peony here.

As for your lawn, there are a number of reasons you could be experiencing these problems. I suspect that compacted clay soil, which is common in Toronto, may be the issue.  Excess thatch build up could also be contributing to your problem.

Click here to read a University-published guide to causes of brown patches on the lawn and determine if your yard matches some of those conditions.

In addition, on this site, we have already published an excellent summary of  spring lawn maintenance tasks, including aerating to relieve compaction problems and thatch removal.  Check out that previous question and answer here and another one about lawn rehabilitation here.