How to Control the Moss Growing in Your Lawn
Moss is a small green plant with finely branched stems and tiny leaves which produces spores that are spread by the wind. Moss forms a thick, green matt on the soil surface but it is not the culprit for killing grass in those areas.
When you find moss in your lawn, it’s an indication that conditions are not favourable for growing grass and the moss is just simply filling in the spaces where the grass is not growing well. Determine what the underlying problem is and make improvements in the conditions to promote healthy grass growth so that the moss doesn’t continue to thrive in those areas. This is a lot easier than continually removing or killing the moss.
Check if any of these conditions may be the culprits in encouraging your moss to grow
- too much shade
- acidic soil
- poor drainage/wet soils
- compacted soil
- low soil fertility
Getting Rid of Moss in Your Lawn - Wet & Forget's Easy Solution
- Firstly, lightly water the lawn but not enough to saturate the moss
- Do this late in the day when the sun is low so that evaporation is kept to the minimum
- Dilute 7 parts water to 1 part Wet & Forget (use 5L Concentrate) in your garden sprayer
- Spot spray the moss. It may take a couple of goes until you have it under control. At worst you may get slight burning of the grass, but it recovers quickly
- Rake the dead moss out
- Broadcast the area with lime to improve the pH levels
- If it’s early spring or autumn – overseed and fertilise
Helpful Hints to Assist You to Reduce 'Moss Friendly' Conditions
Too much shade: Let the sun shine through
- Moss grows well in the shade, but most normal varieties of grass do not.
- If you want to make your lawn healthier, consider clearing away removable obstacles from your yard so that more natural sunlight can reach your grass.
- Keep piles of firewood, bricks, or other debris inside storage areas like your garage or garden shed.
- When building a new shed, think about how the position of the structure may cast shade over the lawn.
- Trim large trees and heavy shrubs so that more light can peek through.
- Moss can tolerate shade better than grass so plant more shade-tolerant grasses.
- Shaded area with less than 4 hours of full sun per day are too shady for any type of grass to grow.
- If the area is too heavily shaded, you may have to decide which you would prefer, the trees/shrubs or the lawn.
- If you choose to keep the trees/shrubs you can cover the area under the trees with a 7cm layer of mulch but avoid piling mulch at the
base of the plants.
- Moss thrives well in acidic soils. If soil pH is below the range recommended for grasses, this encourages moss growth
- To determine what the soil pH is in an area, you can collect and submit a soil test sample. Most grasses prefer a soil pH of 6 to 6.5.
- If the results indicate that the soil pH is too low in the area moss is growing, you can raise the pH by applying lime.
Low soil fertility:
- Moss thrives in infertile soils where grass does not do as well so a soil test would help to decide whether a ‘mossy’ area is low in nutrients or not.
- To assist in this though - fertilize at the proper time to encourage a healthy lawn.
Poor drainage/wet soils:
- Moss grows well in wet soils. If the moss is growing in a low-lying area where the soil stays wet, improving drainage discourages moss growing.
- Avoid watering on automatic or regular schedule. This encourages excess moisture & wet soils. Water your lawn only when you need to.
- Watering a lawn infrequently but deeply encourages deep root growth which will tolerate drought stress better than a shallow root system.
- While too much moisture creates ideal conditions for moss, too little moisture can weaken grass & make your lawn more vulnerable to moss.
- When lawns are too dehydrated, the grass turns brown and weak. It may become too weak to respond to rain or other moisture when it does arrive. As a result, once it rains, the moss grows quickly while the grass continues to die.
- A lawn will not grow well in a compacted soil situation because of the lack of air, water, and nutrients moving through the soil to the roots.
- Soil compaction also prevents good drainage allowing an advantageous spot for moss to grow instead of grass.
- Soil compaction can be alleviated by aeration which removes cores of soil from the lawn.
Get in a landscaper or hire a core aerator which pushes a set of hollow tines into the law to dig out small batches of soil less than 2.5cm wide.
This will free up enough space for the soil to spread out and therefore decompress. Good idea to do this 2x a year before and after the growing season.
Just be aware of the conditions and factors that could be preventing you from having a healthy lawn and whilst encouraging the moss to thrive.
Spread agricultural lime:
Lime should be used to control the acidity of your soil. Moss often grows once acidic soil begins limiting the nutrients supplied to your grass, providing room for moss to sneak in.
- Use a calcium-based lime for best results.
- Test the pH of you soil. Ideal conditions will be neutral, ranging from 6.5 to 7. If the pH is below 6, it is acidic, and if it is above 7, it is alkaline.
- Only use lime to treat acidic soil, not alkaline soil.
- Apply the lime to your lawn twice each growing season if your soil has tested acidic.
A cheaper method:
If you have a fireplace, lightly spread some of the ashes over the area. If you wet it down, it helps to make the grey disappear but it does get rid of the moss.
Let The Grass Grow Green!