Bottom surface maintenance

Gravel area's

In section Raked patterns in The Ginshanada, gravel area chapter yiu can see and read what we do related to the gravel area's.

Removing grasses from the gravel is a year round activity. Even during the winter period these grasses grow.
An other problem with the grass shown here is the fact that they are extremely fertile and produce dozens of seeds within a week or so.
Removing them as soon as they show op is the best remedy.
Some of the gravel surface area's are so small that they can not get properly raked with the rake because it is to big.
For the flat surfaces we use a block of wood to flatten the gravel and to tamp it at the same time.

The weight of the wood block needs to be sufficiently heavy for proper tamping.

Keeping the groundcovers out of the gravel

The ground covering plants can be real creepers and need strict maintenance in order to retain razor-sharp edges, almost like painted or drawn [4: Ch.16: Zen Gardens: From painting to landscaping]. In order to keep them out of the gravel they need strict and frequent trimming on the edges.
On average we do this two or three times per year.
In Keeping the groundcovers out of the gravel in the Garden maintenance chapter we show how this is done.

An interesting detail to slow down the groundcover growth on the edges is to pull the groundcover roots lose from the weed control fabric.
For this purpose we use an add-nail or bricklayer's trowel.

Unwanted moss removal

Most mosses are perennial and can be very invasive. In Unwanted mosses we show some examples.
In an attempt to get rid of, or at least substantially reduce the amount of Hypnum cupressiforme (Dutch: Gesnaveld klauwtjesmos), Hygrohypnum luridum (Hygrohypnum Moss, Dutch: Gewoon spatwatermos) and the like from our Tsukiyama used groundcovers, in the autumn of 2008 we executed a cumbersome and time consuming method that yet has to prove its effectiveness.

To see what we did and to read how we did it select a photo.

2235 2241 2234 2245 2244
2247 2257 In the whole Tsubo-en garden Leptinella potentillina (prev. Cotula common name: "Water buttons" or "Buttonweeds", Dutch: Goudknopje ook wel Vedermos), is the primary "moss substitute" groundcover. This plant is a moderate Sun-lover and hence it stays low in the higher surfaces.

Unwanted moss removal using chemicals

We found out that the above activity of moss removal is extremely cumbersome and not very effective, hence we have been in search for a more easy way to reduce or eliminate mosses from groundcovers. In Unwanted mosses and lichen in ground covers, we started a new approach with chemicals. Here you can read and see with your own eyes how this developed to our great surprise and satisfaction.

Use of a chemical agent based on the active substrate of iron sulfate is normaly promoted to remove mosses from lawns.

Because of the discouraging results we had using the "manual method", we decided to test if this chemical could be used to serve our purpose.

As the photo to the left shows the first result was not very encouraging, ss not only the moss Hygrohypnum luridum (Hygrohypnum Moss, Dutch: Gewoon spatwatermos) but also the groundcover turned black.
This photo was taken shortly after a pilot treatment in early April. We realized that it would have been better to do this earlier, for instance first half of March, so as to give the groundcover more time to recover. Yet we decided to give it a try as it was still early in the growth-season.
The photo above shows a close-up of the first test area located between the stone and the buxus shrub in the right-top corner of the photo to the right.

Here you can see the result just a day after having the area's with moss sprayed (in the front garden compartment).
Important note: According to the directions for use as stated on the packing, the solution should either be sprinkled using a watering can, or be scattered dry on a moist or dewy underground.
We decided to do none of the above but rather spray a solution with one of the sprayers we normally use to spray against weeds and insects. This spraying was done selectively, only on surfaces where the mosses had overgrown the groundcover.
This, and the photo below, is an area in the main garden compartment that is located next to the Buddhist triad stone arrangement.

Only hours after the treatment the colouring is almost as you see it here. This photo was taken the next day.

We had spend days of hard labour during the prior autumn period in trying to remove the moss using the "manual method" discussed above. The result was that during last winter, the moss grow even faster than the groundcover.

This success story is about moss in the Leptinella potentillina (prev. Cotula common name: "Water buttons" or "Buttonweeds", (Dutch: Goudknopje ook wel Vedermos), is the primary "moss substitute" groundcover.

Warning: You must not use this method on perennial groundcovers like for instance thyme, Opiopogon and Acaena. Although this will probably eventually recover, this can take a number of years as the leafs of these plants last for a couple of years. Better not try this as we already did on a few "out of sight" growing specimen.
Here you see the result in the front garden compartment, just after three weeks !.
We have only removed some of the moss remains that where absolutely dead.

This area is rather high and dry. But still the result is astonishing. The following photo shows the result in an area that is less elevated and dry.
This, and the photo below, is the same area in the main garden compartment that is located next to the Buddhist triad stone arrangement.

This to is how it looks after only three weeks that it all turned brown and black due to the chemicals. And again also here we only removed the darkest moss remains. The rest just disappears under the groundcover or gets blown away.
This is the same area as above now also showing our Wisteria sinensis (see: Deciduous trees) in full bloom on May 3rd 2009, less than a Month later. The flowers form a cloud-scape next to Mount Sumeru.

The groundcover looks as good again as in the years after it was planted. The light spot (stripe) in the bottom-centre is phoxim powder to discourage the ants to build their home on this spot.

Top of page