Mossy lawns are a result of native mosses growing into areas where the lawn is weak. Lawn moss can increase rapidly under the right conditions. They are tolerant of extremely low mowing, so regular clipping of the grass will not remove them. It would seem that moss would be easy to control but due to their simple nature they are extremely resistant to poor growing conditions and can take over your lawn.
These conditions promote lawn moss growth:
- Compacted soil
- Wet soil that has poor drainage
- Highly acidic soil (low soil pH)
- Heavy to Medium shade (excessive)
- Cutting your lawn way too low or “scalping”
- Under fertilized soil
- Poor air circulation or compacted soil
Lawn moss growth can be reduced by a number of methods:
- Proper soil drainage
- Increased direct sunlight
- Proper lawn fertilization
- Add lime to increase soil pH
- Aerate, seed and fertilize your lawn
What can be done to help eliminate moss:
Thatching is the removal of old, tired, grass and moss. The process I use is called “Power Raking.” The best time to thatch is in the fall and late spring when your lawn is dry and the thatch is light and fluffy. This allows me to remove the maximum amount of thatch, while minimizing stress to your lawn.
To reduce moss competition, you’ll need to aerate, seed and fertilize your lawn. The lawn aeration will help with drainage and by also introducing new seed to your existing lawn help it stay vibrant and strong. The fertilizer will feed the grass and help keep moss from invading. By bringing in organic compost and raking it into the holes, your soil can be improved. When the compost breaks down, organic matter is then introduced to the clay to nourish and enrich the soil, which then encourages worms and strong root growth. Pruning your trees or removing the lower limbs improves your lawns growing conditions by discouraging shade which attracts moss.
If the issues that are preventing lawn growth are not corrected, any moss elimination or control efforts will be in vain. Identify which of the above factors likely contribute to the occurrence of the moss. In order to determine your soil PH a soil test is required. You can learn more about soil testing on my website. A soil test is simple to perform and very affordable for the amount of information you will receive with regards to the condition of your soil.
If your intention is to eradicate moss, remember it is also a matter of dealing with underlying forces of nature, conditions that will ultimately decide how successful you will be.
- Moss is used in Mexico as a Christmas decoration.
- In the late 19th century England and America it was popular to gather different varieties of moss in outbuildings that were called “Mosseries”.
- In Scandinavian countries, peat mosses have been used to make bread during famines and used for bedding.