Mosses are primitive forms of green plants that produce a tangled, fine-textured mat over the surface of the soil. Under optimal growth conditions, this mat can become quite thick and may spread throughout an area rather rapidly. When moss becomes a problem, it is commonly associated with one or more of the following conditions:
- Heavy Shade
- Acidic Soils
- Soil Compaction
- Low Fertility
- Restricted Air Movement
Moss problems commonly develop where the established grass is not adapted to the site. Selecting the proper grass species are cultivars for the site is important in avoiding a moss problem. Usually, the best lawn quality is obtained by establishing a blend of shade-tolerant, improved bluegrasses, and fine fescues. Maintaining a higher mowing height will also improve grass vigor and competition against moss invasion.
How To Control Moss
For proper control, first determine the conditions contributing to the moss infestation, then take the necessary steps to correct these problems:
#1. Heavy shade can be reduced through selective pruning of trees in the area to increase air movement. Where heavy pruning may not be practical or desirable, consider establishing a more shade-tolerant ground cover, such as baltic ivy, pachysandra, or periwinkle.
#2. If acidic soil is suspected, a soil test should be made to determine the soil pH and obtain a specific recommendation for the area. We offer soil tests for $49.
#3. Poor drainage can be corrected by recontouring the area to improve surface drainage or by installing subsurface drainage (drain tile, dry wells, etc.). Compaction can be reduced by coring (aerating) to promote better rooting and more vigorous grass growth. Call for pricing on our core aeration service.
#5. Low fertility areas can be fertilized to encourage the aggressive growth of the grasses to crowd out the moss. Our lawn care programs address this issue.
Moss can be chemically controlled by applying “de-moss” soaps, available from garden product retailers. However, this treatment will provide only temporary control, and corrective measures like those discussed are needed to alleviate the adverse conditions on the site. After chemical treatment, the dead moss can be raked out and bare areas reseeded or resodded.