Physical And Chemical Moss Removal
How To Get Rid Of Moss In Your Lawn
This article was co-authored by Anthony “TC” Williams. Anthony “TC” Williams is a Professional Landscaper in Idaho. He is the President and Founder of Aqua Conservation Landscape & Irrigation, an Idaho Registered Landscape Business Entity. With over 21 years of landscaping experience, TC has worked on projects such as the Idaho Botanical Garden in Boise, Idaho. He is a Idaho Registered Contractor and a previously Licensed Irrigator in the State of Texas.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 19 testimonials and 89% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 864,786 times.
Moss consists of tiny plants that form a habitat for small invertebrates. Most mosses are native and benign, part of a natural succession of vegetation. They cover bare ground and prevent soil erosion. Moss does not kill your grass, but it can creep into your lawn if your grass has already started dying. In order to get rid of it, you will need to use physical and, possibly, chemical methods of removal. In recent years home owners and gardeners have become more interested in encouraging moss because of its beauty and as part of an effort to minimize use of chemicals around the home. A perfect lawn could include some moss, and the world would not come to an end! But if you can’t stand the sight of moss in the lawn, then read on.
How To Get Rid Of Moss By Correcting The Soil Ph
The best way to get rid of moss in lawn is by altering the soil. Even though moss grows in shady areas, it still needs the right type of soil to thrive. Moss grows best in acidic soils that are low in iron.
Altering the dirt makes it undesirable for moss growth. You can purchase a soil test at your local garden shop to test the pH of your soil and then determine exactly what you need to do to get it back to healthy levels.
- Garden hose
Once you have established that you have acidic soil by performing an acidic test, you can proceed with the application. Spring and autumn are the best times of year to apply lime to your lawn.
Use a garden spreader to apply no more than 20 pounds of lime per 1.000 square feet of lawn. Make sure that you spread the lime on dry grass.
Spread half of the lime while walking in one direction of the yard and then spread the other half while walking in a direction perpendicular to the first. Finish up by watering the yard to prevent leaf burn to the grass blades.
The most important thing you can do to eliminate and prevent moss from growing in your yard is to create a healthy environment for which your lawn to flourish.
Once you have eradicated moss from your yard, you need to take steps to reduce the soil compaction, raise the soil pH, and eliminate overly damp areas. Once you have established a lawn with these conditions, moss spores will have no desire to live there.
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Keeping Moss At Bay In The Long Term
Aerate your lawn
Moss growth is usually a symptom of compacted, poorly aerated soil. To fully alleviate moss in the long term it is advisable to regularly aerate your lawn paying particular attention to the areas it affects most.
Test your soils acidity levels
Test your soils pH level, if it is below 6 it is acidic. Moss often sneaks in when your soil becomes to acidic and grass nutrients are low. Spreading agricultural lime will control the acidity of your soil.
Let the light shine
Your lawn could well be restricted by the amount of shaded grass areas. Grass struggles to grow in areas of little sunlight whilst moss will thrive. Try to cut back large bushes or overhanging trees which are blocking the sun from shining on your grass. If this is not possible consider planting flowers and other plants that thrive in shaded areas to prevent moss from growing instead.
Watering your lawn
Moss loves moisture so water your lawn with care and avoid flooding the lawn. Try to avoid watering your lawn at night as it is cooler and the moisture may sit on the soil. If your lawn is naturally moist you should regularly aerate.
Raise The Ph Of Your Soil
Moss loves acidic soil. Your soil could be low on the pH scale, causing a healthy environment for moss. Adding lime to the area will help raise the pH, making it less hospitable to moss.When you add dolomitic limestone to the lawn, its also full of calcium and magnesium. While they dont necessarily fight moss itself, they will provide a healthy soil base for the grass you plant in the future.Learn more about the importance of lawn pH here.
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Disposing Of Dead Moss
Dead moss raked out of lawns after treatment can be added to the compost heap. Although slow to rot in bulk, moss can be composted if well mixed with plenty of other ingredients. Moss can be stored and added gradually as other ingredients become available. As moss is very widespread any spores that survive the composting process wonât add significantly to the risk of moss forming in the garden. Best practice is to avoid consigning moss to the green waste collection disposal by composting, or in extreme cases stacking or burial, is recommended.Inclusion of a weedkiller product does not indicate a recommendation or endorsement by the RHS. It is a list of products currently available to the home gardener.
Best Products For Killing Moss On Lawns
I highly recommend Mo Bacter. It is an organic, slow release lawn fertiliser with added magnesium. It contains friendly bacteria that eat moss and turn it into fertiliser. It is quite sensitive to temperature so it must be at least 12 degrees for it to work. Ideally, it should be spread in damp conditions. I would recommend topping your grass about two days before spreading to expose the weeds and again two days after applying the treatment.
Mo-Bacter improves the soil overall and there is no black mess or raking out needed afterwards. The fertilizer contains beneficial decomposing bacteria which consume the organic waste and convert it into useful lawn feed.
One bag does about 100 metres squared, the size of a typical town garden. However do measure your lawn beforehand and spread it at the correct rate. You can spread it by hand, but I have a little push along spreader that does the job in half the time and achieves an even spread.
Mo Bacter takes about two weeks to work and is far better than traditional chemical treatments that will turn your lawn black. It also feeds the grass and doesnt harm animals or wildlife. All the same, I would recommend keeping pets out of the treated area for at least 24 hours, to allow the product to work its magic.
If you plan to spread lime on your lawn, allow at least two weeks from when you treated it for moss and weeds.
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How Do I Rid My Lawn Of Moss
So you want to get rid of the moss in your lawn and more than that you want to keep it gone. There are a number of reasons that may cause the moss to grow so there are a number of solutions to get rid of the moss for good.
Let us take a look at the long term solutions
- Rake the moss out of your lawn this is the most obvious solution, it is hard work and it will get rid of the moss, however, unless you correct the underlying issues and improve the condition of your soil the moss will more than likely grow back.
- Use Baking Soda in addition to the initial raking of the moss you may want to use baking soda to try and get rid of the moss that will still be growing after you rake it. Mix in a box of baking soda to water and spray it all over your lawn.
- Change the pH of your soil you will have to first test the pH of your soil and you can do this by using a home test kit or get a professional to test it. If the pH is too low you should apply lime at the recommended dose to make your soil more ideal for grass to flourish.
- Improve the drainage if you have a lawn that has lots of water on it then that is likely a cause of moss as it loves damp conditions. To improve the drainage the easiest way is to aerate your lawn, this will improve the drainage and also allow for better air circulation.
If you take all of these steps to improve your lawn not only will you rid the moss from your lawn but you will keep it gone and have some lush green thriving grass.
Provide Access To Direct Sunlight
Weve already established that too much moisture and not enough sunlight are bad for the grass, and this applies even to shade-tolerant grasses like Sir Walter Buffalo and Zoysia grass. So, what can you do about it? For starters, you can inspect the vegetation in proximity to your lawn.
Overgrown trees and bushes that are casting a shade over the grass will have to be trimmed, which will prove beneficial for both your lawn and the trees and bushes. You can use the occasion to identify and prune away any dead or diseased branches, which might be taking up space and serve no purpose.
Do this regularly, so there is no chance of the trees overgrowing and blocking your lawns vital sunlight. You will soon discover that opening up space for more air and light will reinvigorate not just your turf but your surrounding shrubs and trees, as well.
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How To Get Rid Of Moss In Your Lawn Naturally
With these natural moss removal tips you’ll be able to quickly remove moss like a boss and get back to loving your lawn.
The sun is out. You’re slathered in natural sunscreen and insect repellent. You stroll out to enjoy your beautiful lawn andâ¦record scratch.
Where your gorgeously green grassy lawn once was, there is now a spread of moss. You’re supposed to be chilling like an eco-conscious villain, not breaking your back doing lawn maintenance.
No need to panic or whip out the herbicide. Grove has your back with natural moss solutions. So, let’s get mossy with it!
Making A Moss Killer Spray
For patches of moss spread throughout your entire yard, use a DIY moss killer spray for removing moss from yard in a few easy steps.
- Garden sprayer
This homemade moss killer spray is sufficient to treat 1,000 square feet of lawn, and you should use it when you are not expecting rainfall within 24 hours after application. Combine the water and dish soap into a garden sprayer and hold the spray nozzle approximately two inches from the moss.
Drench the small patches of moss with the soap solution, and within 24 hours, the moss will begin to brown and die. Easily remove the dead moss by hand to allow for grass growth.
Do you need to use vinegar, a popular weed control method, for moss? Vinegar is not necessary for eliminating moss. You may wonder, however, will vinegar kill dandelions and other annoying weeds? Yes, vinegar alone or mixed with dish soap and salt is a highly effective weed killer for most types of weeds in your lawn and garden.
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How Do I Prevent Moss
- Feed the lawn using a composite lawn feed which contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium . Alternatively if you want to go organic, you can apply a handful of bone meal per square yard in the fall. This is a source of phosphorus. In the spring, apply well rotted, crumbly leaf compost or leave the clippings on the lawn every second time you cut the grass. Either of these methods return nitrogen to the soil.
- Scarify the lawn using a rake or electric scarifier – This pulls out all the dead vegetation and helps to remove moss and thatch
- Improve Drainage and Aeration – Use a hand fork and drive it down into the ground at 1 foot intervals. Alternatively you can use a hollow tine aerator. This tool has a series of hollow tubes rather than prongs. When you walk on it with your foot and drive it down into the ground, it removes cores of soil when pulled back up. A gas powered version of this is also available. Forking the lawn also improves aeration, as it opens up the ground, allowing more air in around the roots of grass. This helps to promote stronger, more vigorous growth of roots
Forking a lawn at 1 foot intervals helps to aerate and improve drainage. Drive the fork fully down into the ground
An electric scarifier makes light work of removing moss and other dead vegetation from lawns.
Image by permission Draper Tools UK
Improve Shade Conditions For Moss Control
Another major contributor to why patches of moss grow instead of grass or if you find white fungus on lawn areas is shade. While moss grows well in shady areas, most lawns need several hours of sunlight to thrive. If there is too much shade, say under a large tree or beside a building, grass wont survive using the same treatment as other parts of your lawn.
These conditions leave plenty of room for lawn moss to flourish, however.So, how to get rid of moss in shaded areas? One way is by pruning back the branches on any large trees that may be preventing your grass from growing in that area. If this doesnt work or isnt possible, then try adapting your mowing techniques.
Instead of trimming your yard at one even height, raise the mower blades by approximately one inch to allow the grass in shaded areas to remain a little taller. This extra length enables them to cover more surface area while also giving them a greater reach to absorb sunlight.
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Use A Natural Moss Killer
There are a number of natural moss killing methods the two best ones use either bicarbonate of soda or dish soap. These homemade techniques can be surprisingly effective at getting rid of moss, especially if your grass is otherwise quite healthy.
- If using baking soda, add three tablespoons to a litre of water. Mix the solution together, dissolving the baking soda, and add it to a spray bottle.
- If using dish soap, add 25mL to a litre of water, mix the dish soap into the liquid, and add it to a spray bottle.
Wait until the grass is completely dry, and you have no rain forecast for the next 24-48 hours. Then, no matter which method you have chosen, spray the liquid liberally over the moss on your lawn.
Wait around two weeks for the moss to die completely. If the moss still looks green after a few days, consider applying the solution again, with up to double the amount of baking soda or dish soap as before.
Once the moss has turned brown and died, its important to rake it away, and get rid of the dead moss. Then, youll need to use some of the methods weve discussed below to prevent the moss from returning to your lawn.
What Causes Moss Growth On Lawns
Moss thrives in cool, shady, moist conditions, especially poorly drained grass.
It also grows on less healthy lawns, especially worn-out turf, and areas of sparse, patchy grass. The less grass coverage, the easier it is for moss to take hold.
Also, moss often comes about when your soil pH is too low , especially below a pH of 6, although it can also grow when your lawn is too alkaline .
Moss often grows in the spring or autumn, when the weather isnt too hot, nor too cold.
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