Spring Forward!

This past winter’s weather was awful.

In December, temperatures dropped below freezing before most of us had even started Christmas shopping. And then came February. 2017’s February will forever be known as THAT February. When we had to shut down for 5 WHOLE DAYS because of lasting snow and relentless rain.  Seeing a thick layer of snow on the ground was awesome—but that joy was short-lived. It overstayed its welcome, putting all kinds of kinks into our schedule.

But now that we’ve sprung forward, spring’s harbingers seem to be all around. Forsythia is in bloom and the sight of cheerful, yellow tulips feels like an act of rebellion against winter’s oppression.

This is the time of year when you really see the assault winter has taken on your lawn. Moss is rampant. Areas that were once thick and lush are now sparse. If you love your lawn, this can be disheartening.

In your battle against moss, it’s important to know what conditions it thrives in. The information below comes from Paul Tukey, author of The Organic Lawn Care Manual.

lawn care poulsbo

A few months after aerating, dethatching and topdressing with compost was done to this lawn in Poulsbo

SHADE — The most common reason for moss in lawns is lack of sunlight. During the winter months, lawn areas may receive little to no sunlight. Even during spring and summer months, branches of nearby trees may need to be removed to allow for more sunlight. Buildings also cast shadows and typically cannot be moved. Instead of fighting the battle, you may want to learn to live with the moss, or plant another shade-tolerant ground cover.

MOISTURE — Fast-growing mosses are attracted to persistently wet areas. No surprises here! If an area of your landscape cannot be dried by the sun or other means, moss is inevitable.

ACID SOIL — Moss is an indicator of a low pH, especially if it’s growing in a sunny area. Liming your soil may be necessary.

LOW FERTILITY — When moss grows 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.

LACK OF AIR MOVEMENT — It’s not uncommon for golf course superintendents to 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 take hold.

While chemical applications provide an 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 and applying compost to your lawn.  Compost is an organic fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other essential nutrients that result in a lush lawn over time.

If you’re ready to spring forward with a lawn renovation, we’re here to help! Give us a call at 360-697-3215 for a free estimate. 

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. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter here.