What To Do About Moss?

If you’re wondering what to do about the moss in your lawn and are seeking ways to eradicate it, keep in mind that moss is what some call a “messenger sent by Mother Nature.”  Its presence tells you something about the condition of your soil.  Before reaching towards a product like Moss Out or a lawn fertilizer that controls moss, it behooves you to know why it grows in the first place.  Because chances are, if you don’t address the underlying problem, moss will simply grow again.

moss in lawn
Paul Tukey, founder of SafeLawns.org, lists the following reasons on his blog:

“ SHADE — In a lawn environment, the most common reason for moss is lack of sunlight. To be rid of the moss, you may have to remove the lower branches of trees — or cut down the tree altogether. When buildings can’t be moved, you may need to learn to live with the moss, or plant another shade-tolerant ground cover.

MOISTURE — Fast-growing mosses are attracted to persistently wet areas. If an area of your landscape cannot be readily dried by the sun or other means, you may resign yourself to the moss.

LACK OF AIR MOVEMENT — I know golf course superintendents who run large fans in shade areas of golf courses so that moss and fungal diseases don’t set in. If you have an area of your property that is shielded from the wind, it can be an ideal location for moss to settle in.

ACID SOIL — Moss is almost always an indicator of a low pH, especially if it’s growing in a sunny area. Adding lime or wood ash may be necessary.

LOW FERTILITY — Whenever you see moss growing in sunny areas, the second consideration after pH is general soil fertility. If the soil is just plain dead or lacking organic matter, moss can creep in.

SOIL COMPACTION — Moss doesn’t typically grow on sandy, well-drained soils. It’s almost always found on compacted clay sites, because the clay holds moisture so effectively. Aerating and altering the soil structure can help alleviate moss.”

While chemical applications provide a quick and immediate solution, the following actions can be taken to address the underlying problems that encourage moss growth.  Trim tree limbs or shrubs that provide shade where your lawn needs more sun.  Improve your soil conditions by aerating or by applying compost to your lawn 2 to 3 times a year.  Compost is a safe and organic fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other essential nutrients that result in a lush, green lawn.

Alternatively, Tukey suggests allowing the moss to grow naturally.  Where the moss exists in your landscape becomes one less area that you have to worry about mowing!

Thanks for reading our blog. Northwest Construction & Landscape, LLC is a Kitsap County landscaping company that offers landscaping, decorative concrete and lawn maintenance services to homes and businesses across Kitsap and Pierce counties.