Moss is one of our most common lawn problems. Mosses are small flowerless plants that typically grow in dense green clumps, often in damp or shady locations. Moss is not rooted and spreads through spore dispersal using the wind but will only establish if they land in a moist area.
Factors that encourage moss production:
- Mowing too close / scalping the grass
- Not mowing often enough (see our mowing tips)
- Trees and bushes causing shaded areas
- Leaves on the lawn
- A lack of balanced turf fertiliser
- Excessive lawn thatch
- Acidic soils
A number of methods will inhibit moss growth such as decreasing the availability of water, increasing light levels and increasing the natural resources available for competing plants such as grasses in your lawn. The application of Iron based chemical products is the quickest and most effective method of killing moss in the short term however, killing moss will not prevent re-growth unless the underlying favourable conditions for moss growth are changed.
This is a fundamental reason why raking the lawn after a moss control treatment is crucial, and just as important as the moss control itself. Once the dead moss is raked out (and collected) the grasses have the opportunity to thrive. By raking out dead moss you are allowing more space for grass to grow and increasing the uptake of air, water and light. When moss in the lawn turns black, rake it out!
What else can be done?
Scarification – under extreme circumstances it may be beneficial to scarify the lawn to remove thatch and moss build up to allow the grasses to compete.
Over Seeding – Applying lawn seed to areas after raking or scarification will encourage the lawn to fill out and prevent the moss from re-emerging in these areas.
Aeration – Aerating the lawn will reduce the rate at which moss builds up. Lawns can become compacted, meaning that the soil is unable to hold air therefore preventing the lawn from holding or draining water. Compact lawns are extremely favourable for moss to grown on and are often slow growing and generally unhealthy. Aeration can improve drainage and airflow within the soil medium.
To conclude, although moss production is dictated by soil composition, general lawn care practices, weather and aspect. You are the biggest influence on moss control moving forward. Your lawn grasses will soon reap the rewards and thrive….
Joe’s Lawn Care