Are you bothered by moss in your lawn? According to this veteran lawn specialist, moss is a rootless, ancient, primitive plant that is not controlled by typical weed-sprays, nor by applying lime. It grows in sun and shade and everything in-between. In the Northeast USA, Pacific Northwest, Canada, Iceland and Scandinavia some homeowners with large trees and heavy shade actually grow moss for their lawns. Companies like Moss Acres supply it to enhance their heavenly moss scene!
The best moss control strategy is to max out your lawn’s overall health by subscribing to Greener Earth Organic. Short-term, you can use iron sulphate products (not detergents) to control some moss also. Then rake and remove the blackened moss, apply topdressing, AxisDE (or other soil amendment), seed and straw / peat moss covering in the barest areas. I overseed lawns and carefully select seed blends suiting your conditions.
Greener Earth Organic partners with you to build healthy lawns and landscaping. We use organic-based feedings to keep your lawn’s ecosystem in balance …including the microscopic life in soil that enables better root health (thereby top growth). Partnership? That means mowing properly and watering regularly, especially during the drier, hotter weeks. Summer ARE getting hotter! In 1994 when I moved to Michigan my almanac indicated 2 days at/over 90 degrees per summer, but it’s hotter in recent years!
Improving Lawn Health
If your lawn has underlying problems that remain unsolved moss can grow better than turfgrass! Here’s how to address these problems:
Your lawn must have nutrients to grow thicker to out-compete weeds and moss. Subscribe to Greener Earth Organic’s regular lawn feedings. Don’t catch but do mulch your clippings unless directed.
Compacted Soil (AERATE)
When your soil is compacted roots don’t develop and grow well. That’s one reason that golf courses aerate at least twice annually! Fall and spring are best for aerating. Late summer / fall is best for over-seeding after aerating.
Shade: Is Your Lawn Too Shady?
Grass needs 4-5 cumulative hours of daily sun (yes, including shade-type turf-grasses!) At minimum you made need to properly remove lower tree branches or shorten large, wide shrubs. This also improves air circulation to enable soils to dry out and may reduce grass-thinning fungus diseases. North sides of houses may mean growing grass alternatives such as groundcover plants, shade-type perennials (let’s talk). Or simply install mulch, or pea gravel over landscape fabric.
Soils Too Wet
Grass likes moist soil, not wet. If you have drainage problems moss can thrive. Consider remedying drainage onto the lawn from the driveway or walkway. Also slopes can be altered or low, wet spots can be filled in. If your neighbors’ lawn are uphill from your lawn those drain into yours then install a drainage system. We may be able to recommend a reliable contractor. Contact us.
Soils Too Dry:
Moss control treatments fail if your lawn goes pale and dormant in the summer heat and dryness. Then lawns thin out, get weak, and allow weed and moss invasions. WATER your lawn regularly when dry, ideally 1” – 1 ¼” weekly (over 1 ½” in sandier soils, especially if sunny). CONSIDER installing a sprinkler system, or ‘DIY’ Quick-Snap sprinklers which require hoses to fine-tune your watering!
During certain months (not every year) we have accepted an occasional moss control service. Primarily using iron sulphate, this burns the moss and turns it black but doesn’t kill it. Then with a thatching rake you need to remove the moss before it keeps spreading and growing more thickly. Rake vigorously to loosen it and remove from the lawn. In extreme cases you may do that by renting a power rake.
More About Excessive Shade:
If pruning is not desired consider installing alternative landscaping …certain shade-loving perennials, shrubs and spreading groundcover plants (contact Greener Earth). Or mulch thickly to discourage weeds.