Your lawn is beautiful, green, lush, and well taken care of, so it isn’t nice to see thick patches of moss dotted around.
Moss can be very invasive, it is an opportunistic plant that’ll take residence wherever it can and due to its shallow root system can pop up before you even notice.
There are many factors that could lead to “moss in my lawn” and to really get rid of moss, you need to find out which one of these factors applies to your lawn.
Luckily, moss isn’t too hard to get rid of, but it will keep coming back unless you take some measures to prevent it.
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How To Remove Moss From Your Lawn
As mentioned before, moss is a plant that has shallow roots, which makes it relatively easy to remove. It acts as a covering for patches of your lawn where the grass is thin or non-existent.
Removing the moss is the first step to having a moss-free garden, and there are two ways that you can successfully remove moss from your lawn.
The Chemical Method
Moss is a living plant, and to get rid of moss you first need to kill this living plant.
There are many chemical herbicides that are targeted toward killing moss, and you will be able to find them at any garden store.
It is important to find a herbicide that is made specifically for killing moss, some other weed herbicides may not kill moss effectively and could damage other areas of your lawn.
Most moss herbicides are iron-based products, which could feed your lawn as you are ridding the grass of moss intruders.
You can use herbicide on moss at any time of the year, and it should be effective, however, the most effective time to use herbicide on moss would be when the moss is in its peak growing period.
Moss growth is at its peak in the spring and fall months, as moss prefers cool and damp weather.
Apply the herbicide to the moss and wait about a week to see the moss depleting.
The Organic Method
If you are reluctant to introduce herbicide into your lawn then that is understandable, if the moss is growing in areas you may not like to cover with chemicals.
You could also just want to use something you can achieve at home if you live far away from a garden shop.
Luckily you can create a DIY herbicide using items that you would find in your own home.
It is also very simple, you either mix gentle dish soap or baking soda with warm water, which creates an effective herbicide for moss.
If you are using baking soda, mix a small box of baking soda with two gallons of water. This amount of water and baking soda solution should cover around 1000 square feet (0.93 a) of moss-covered lawn.
If you need a larger amount of solution, you can increase it by however much you like, as long as you keep the same baking soda to water ratio.
Use a garden sprayer or any type of spray bottle filled with the solution and apply a heavy coating to the moss, trying to saturate it, this should give the best results.
When using the soap method, you should mix around 2-4 ounces of soap with two gallons of water and be able to cover the same amount of area as the baking soda solution.
As with the baking soda solution, it is important to stick to these ratios if you are looking for a larger area.
When using either of these methods, you don’t have to worry about the turf surrounding the moss as these solutions should damage the grass surrounding the moss.
The moss should turn brown or orange after around 24 hours, this will indicate that the moss is dead.
Once the moss is dead, it will be easy to get rid of it with a metal rake. Because moss roots are very shallow, you should have no problem collecting all the moss.
It is important that when you dispose of your moss it should be in a sealed bag away from your lawn, as moss spores can still escape and be carried by the wind.
This will start your problem all over again. Once you have removed your moss, you have to keep the moss from growing back.
How To Prevent Moss From Growing Back
Getting rid of the moss is the easy part, if you don’t take action to find out why the moss was there in the first place and prevent it from happening again, this process will repeat itself indefinitely.
This means changing your lawn conditions that helped the moss grow in the first place.
While moss can grow with perfect soil conditions, it is very likely that your soil has some problems that allow the moss to grow.
Here we explore some of these problems and how you can help prevent them.
Is Your Lawn Getting Enough Sunlight?
Moss thrives in dark areas and shade, so if you’re seeing a lot of moss around certain areas of your garden it is important to take a look at the amount of sun that specific area is getting.
Most species of turfgrass are the opposite, they need the sun and very few species will survive in the shade.
Even species of turfgrass that are tolerant to the shade such as zoysia grass in the warmer climates and fescue in the colder climates will need 6 hours of direct sunlight or 12 hours of partial sunlight each day.
If you find that you are having problems with moss due to a lack of sunlight in specific areas of your garden then you may want to think about reducing the amount of shade covering your lawn.
If the shade is coming from a tree, prune the branches selectively or thin the leaves to allow some sort of sunlight to come through.
If you don’t want to get rid of the shade in your garden, or the shade is coming from your house or garden wall, consider turning the shaded area into a flower bed with mulch or straw. You could also use artificial grass or turn that area into a path or seating area.
If the problem is happening in the partial shade then it may be down to your grass type.
If you do not have grass that can thrive in partial sunlight then it may be growing thinner and allowing the moss to grow in the thin areas.
If this is the case then maybe switch to fescue for colder regions or zoysia for warmer regions.
Are You Managing Your Soil pH?
If your soil is acidic it has a low pH, moss thrives in acidic soil. If your soil is more acidic then it is likely that this is why there is moss growing on your lawn.
You can take a sample of your soil to the nearest garden center to find out if your soil is more acidic, and also most garden stores will tell you if your soil is acidic too.
To prevent your soil from becoming too acidic, you can add lime. Lime is the most common way to remedy acidic soil and is used by many farmers to retain the right pH level in their fields.
It is recommended that lime is added in the fall, this way the rain and snow that comes with the winter months can break up the soil and make sure the lime can penetrate the soil fully.
It can also take months for lime to properly change the pH of your soil, so having it done in the winter months shouldn’t affect your use of the lawn too much.
If you are having a problem with moss at another time of the year and cannot wait for the fall months, then you could try fast-acting lime which can start working immediately.
Is Your Lawn Draining Properly?
As well as high acidity and shade, moss loves damp environments. Moss thrives when there is a lot of moisture, so if your lawn isn’t draining properly, it is not uncommon for moss to start growing.
Also, if your lawn isn’t draining properly, it could inhibit the growth of your grass, and in the patches that your grass isn’t growing in, moss could flourish.
It is important to find out the cause of the poor drainage to prevent the invasion of moss.
Not having adequate draining in your lawn can be caused by several factors. For instance, the type of soil may just be poor at draining water and moisture.
If your soil is primarily clay, it won’t drain as well as soils that are primarily sand. To improve clay-based soil, make sure to aerate it and till it with compost.
Another factor that could lead to poor soil drainage is foot traffic.
If there is a lot of foot traffic on your lawn from garden parties, children, or even just from walking to your house, your soil will be compacted and struggle to drain water.
There is an easy way to tell if your soil is compacted or not, grab a shovel and stick it as far as you can into the ground.
If the shovel easily sinks six to eight inches into the ground it is likely to be fine. However, if your shovel doesn’t reach that depth easily then the soil is likely compacted. If your soil is compacted then it needs to be tilled and aerated.
To prevent heavy foot traffic from affecting your soil in the future, maybe invest in an area of artificial ground whether it is a deck, concrete, or even artificial grass that you can use for parties, walking, or playing.
If your lawn is collecting a lot of standing water when it rains then this is obviously going to affect drainage and could affect your whole lawn.
You need to find the affected spots, this should be easy as you can wait for a rainy day and then observe where it collects the most water.
If it is because the part of your lawn that collects the most water is lower than the rest of the ground, then you can fill this depression with more dirt and plant the grass higher.
If the part of the ground that is collecting the water isn’t lower, and it isn’t compacted, then it might be best to look into installing a French drain that can direct water away from your lawn.
The best way to prevent any weeds or moss from collecting themselves on your lawn is to simply grow thick and healthy grass.
If the grass is healthy and maintained properly, getting the right amount of sunlight, water, and nutrients then it will be the dominant species, take up all the room, and be too compact to let weeds in.
Make sure you are planting the right grass for your climate and maintaining this grass in its unique way, and you’re sure not to have a problem with moss again.