Lawn Moss

Emerald green moss looks charming in old English gardens or on rocks beneath picturesque waterfalls but it's not something home gardeners like to see on their lawn.

Lawn moss usually occurs where conditions are moist and the growth rate of the grass is low. It also indicates the possibility of run down turf which can happen for a number of reasons. Lawn moss can be eradicated effectively only if its cause can be correctly identified.

What kind of Lawns are Targets?

Where grass is neglected or there is too much shade, lawn moss thrives. There could also be a nutrient and pH imbalance, inadequate soil aeration, or the topsoil may not be deep enough. If the soil is overly compacted, that too can be a contributing factor. Grass that is cut too closely and poor drainage are other culprits.

Once the cause is identified, the most logical solution to eradicate lawn moss is to remove the cause. This will bring about a slow disappearance of the moss and will also halt its return. The results may not be swift but they will be long-lasting.

How to begin treating lawn moss

  • One of the first things to do to determine why you have lawn moss is to examine where it is appearing. If it's thriving in well-shaded areas, the answer is simple.
  • If you hadn't noticed it before, it may be that the foliage above the grassed area has grown thicker and far less sunlight is able to reach the ground. Trim back the branches or plants to reduce the amount of shade cast over the area.
  • Or you may be over-watering and the ground is not allowing for drainage through the soil. This creates damp spots, a perfect breeding ground for lawn moss.
  • Old areas of grass that haven't received any attention in a long time will succumb to moss growth if the soil hasn't been aerated or if a lot of activity occurs in the area, such as cars driving over it, children playing ball or heavy items stored there on occasion.

All of these issues will give you answers as to what you can do to get rid of the lawn moss.

PH levels

In the absence of the above answers, it could be that the soil is nutrient-deprived. By using a very simple soil test kit, available at hardware stores and garden supply stores, you can determine if the soil is deficient in lime, which would provide an answer to your lawn moss problem. Once you treat the affected area with lime, you should see a rapid improvement.

Should I use chemicals?

There are some very safe lawn moss eradication products on the market for home gardeners that pose no risk to domestic animals or visiting wildlife. It's always best practice to follow the instructions completely to avoid unnecessarily saturating the area with chemicals or to make sure you use enough to do the job.

A chemical solution can be used in conjunction with other measures you may take to eradicate your lawn moss, if you need to speed up the process. The main problem, however, with using chemicals is that they work to "burn" the moss to kill it. At the same time, the desirable grass and other matter can also be burned, so try to control the moss with the aforementioned methods first.

Lawn moss takes a long time to become established and unfortunately it takes a long time to be brought under control. If it looks to be beating you, you can always replace the grass in the problem area with gravel, cinder block, wood chips or paving blocks.