Not everything green is good. If you notice there’s moss growing in your lawn, you’re likely concerned about the reason why. Another concern is how moss growth affects the health of your grass. Just like common weeds, moss competes for water, nutrients, and space on the ground. In other words, it won’t help your lawn to become as healthy and strong as possible. By understanding why moss thrives in your lawn, you’ll learn what to do about it.
Why Moss Thrives
First, learn what kinds of conditions help moss to grow rapidly and spread throughout any portion of your lawn. Any of the following items, and especially a combination, will attribute to the spread of moss:
- Low turf density, or in other words thinning grass
- Deep shade produced by trees, shrubs, or a structure
- Poor drainage in an area, making it soggy
- Watering your lawn too much
- Soil compaction, which can cause water to pool on the surface
- Acidic soil and low fertility
There are over 15,000 types of moss. Because it lacks a vascular system, traditional roots, and have needles instead of leaves, moss can thrive where grass and many other plants struggle. They reproduce through spores, that are transferred through moisture.
Now that you know what kinds of conditions moss needs to thrive, you can more effectively control its spread.
Instead of fighting the moss, which can be a tough plant to just kill off since it’s so resilient, you’re better off combatting the conditions that make moss growth favorable.
- Solve any drainage problems on your property. That means providing a place for water to flow.
- Keep the soil pH level between 6.0 and 6.8 by applying the right amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium through fertilization. Test the soil about once every three years.
- Seed areas where your lawn is thin. You’ll need to aggressively rake the ground with a steel rake to break up moss and give the seeds a way to penetrate the soil. Adding compost and/or fertilizer, plus keeping the soil moist but not soaking wet will allow the seeds to take root without encouraging moss growth.
- Cut back trees and shrubs to allow sunlight to more fully bathe an area of the lawn. This will help with drying out the soil and will promote grass growth. Instead of topping trees and shrubs, just thin the different branches to allow more light to pass through.
- Aerate your lawn at least once a season. This will reduce soil compaction and thatch buildup, plus promote grass growth by allowing water and nutrients to penetrate deeper into the ground.
- Allow your lawn to grow a little taller. Many people cut their grass too short, which harms the lawn’s health and opens the door to moss growth. Maintain a height between 2 to 3 inches for ideal health.
that isn’t on your lawn. You might need to raise up areas that have depressions, especially if rainwater naturally accumulates there.
Contact On the Green, Inc. for professional help with moss control or any other lawn care needs.