Just when you thought your lawn was your own personal haven, an oasis in a neighborhood of brown, unappealing yards, along comes a patch of moss and you begin to visualize your lawn’s rapid demise. Moss can cause unrivalled frustration in passionate gardeners because it is hugely persistent and plain unwelcome.
However, one of the most important fundamentals of lawn moss control is the fact that it will not thrive in areas where the turf is dense and growing profusely. It is an opportunistic weed that takes advantage of thin, weak turf and over time, takes over.
Once established, grass plants will simply not spread where moss exists. Lawn moss control begins at an understanding of how it came to be there in the first place.
Promote Turf Growth
It seems a little like running around in circles, but unless you take steps to establish dense, prolific turf, no lawn moss control effort will be successful. Shade is one of the biggest inhibitors to growing dense turf.
Moisture builds up in shady spots far more easily because there is little direct exposure to sunlight that helps to dry it out. Additionally, the cooler environment out of the sun enables moss to proliferate. In effect, what works for moss does not suit turf and vice versa.
Deter Moss Growth
A moist, shady spot in your yard may be better covered with gravel, pavers or bark. Since grass will not grow there anyway, it would be more advantageous to prevent the growth of moss and avoid the moss spread to more healthy turf areas.
Poor soil fertility is another lawn moss control factor. Test your soil for nutrient content and pH levels, and you will soon see if this is the culprit. Purchase a soil test kit and it will tell you if your soil is nutrient-deficient and from there, you can begin to remedy it to make it less hostile to grass and less welcoming to moss. Lime and fertilizer applications, in accordance with the results on the test kit, will improve conditions in the soil and help the turf to thrive.
Poorly drained soil is a breeding ground for moss and a deterrent to beautiful turf. Using a soil aerator, breathe new life into the ground by decompacting the soil. It will promote drainage and will also allow it to dry out through evaporation.
There are products on the market that contain 10% iron and which are said to provide excellent lawn moss control without creating excessive growth in the grass. Available in granular form or in hose-on spray packs, they can be an efficient alternative.
The Next Steps
Once you have established satisfactory turf growth, you can begin to take lawn moss control to the next level, if necessary. Chemical moss eradication methods can be used if the moss continues to grow, despite your soil and turf’s improved conditioning.
You will not find a huge choice of products available because very few are legally approved as lawn moss control agents. Besides, since they contain potassium salts they dehydrate the moss to eradicate it and if not used correctly, can also burn the grass that you do want to retain.
Above all, when trying to determine an appropriate method of lawn moss control for your yard, keep in mind that the moss does not kill the grass, it merely signifies that the growing conditions are unfavorable for turf. No matter how much you spray or dig up the moss, it will not be eliminated permanently until you treat the soil conditions and the environment.