Moss is something that every lawn will have to deal with at one time or another and likewise every gardener will have to accept the challenge of trying to rid his or her grass of what can potentially be a foreign growth that could kill it.
The most common symptom of a poorly kept lawn, moss manifests itself as a non flowering entity that chokes the existing grass and starves it of the nutrients to be gleaned from the soil.
Mosses are remarkably resilient and can take quite a bit of work to get rid of. The most common reasons for moss build up in your lawn are:
- Excessive moisture
- Compacted soil
- Clay soil
- Poor drainage
- Excessive thatch
- Grass mowed too low
- Poor nutrient levels
In the summer months or periods of warm weather moss will lie dormant but once presented with wet conditions moss can thrive so it is important to take the appropriate action as soon as possible.
Reducing the Risk of Moss
One of the most important things you can do to tackle the onslaught of moss is regular scarifying of your lawn. Scarification helps pull dead and rotting grass to the surface so that it can be removed and reduce the risk of Thatch developing. Thatch is one of the most common ways of introducing moss to your lawn. A layer of dead grass beneath the grass stem and above the soil will provide humidity and moisture – conditions conducive to moss – and allow it to take hold along with fungi such as Toadstools and Puffballs.
If you have trees surrounding your lawn it is important to keep lower level branches cut back as moss thrives in the shade also.
Aeration is also another way to help reduce the risk of moss. If your soil is not properly drained then this excess water can act as the perfect breeding ground and moss patches will soon flourish in areas where water is allowed to build up. Using a fine tine rake aerate the lawn after long periods of rain and after watering to ensure that the lawn has sufficient opportunity to soak up the water thus preventing the moss from taking hold.
You will find now that as our climate seems to be getting warmer so to do our winters which mean that our lawns are continuing to grow in spurts. With this in mind it is important to continue mowing our lawns through this period with the emphasis on preventing moss.
You can also use chemical moss killers which are harmless to your lawn but it is worth bearing in mind that these treatments should be used in conjunction with some of the other tasks we have suggested.
A strict regime of aeration, scarification and chemical treatment should keep the moss down to a minimum and allow your lawn to continue its natural growing cycle without too much interference but in some extreme cases where moss patches are resilient and difficult to move it may be necessary to replace the affected patches of grass with new grass or a new sod of turf.