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How to remove moss in your lawn

Post Date: May 29th, 2012


lawn moss

Photo credit: iJammin


Thriving moss in your lawn is usually a symptom of a bigger underlying problem that needs your attention. Removing the moss is often only a temporary solution because the root causes still exist and continue to make it easy for moss to return time and time again. The battle against moss requires patience and a thorough understanding of the conditions on your property that are leading to moss growth.


Determine the Cause of Moss Growth

To solve your moss problem, it is important to determine the reasons why moss is growing in your lawn. First, investigate the moss-affected area to gauge the extent of the problem. Create a checklist on which of the following conditions are present in your lawn.

1. Is the moss-affected area under a shade?

Lack of sunlight will cause grass to weaken and be overpowered by moss.

2. Is your lawn always damp?

Lawns with too much water or those in constantly damp conditions are always the most fertile environments for moss to flourish in.

3. Is your lawn thin and shallow?

Anything less than four to five inches in soil depth is not considered deep enough to grow and maintain healthy grass.

4. Is your lawn soil acidic?

Moss grows well in acidic soil. To know if your lawn soil is acidic, a soil test is necessary. Click on this simple do-it-yourself soil test to find out what your soil acidity/alkalinity is without having to buy a test kit.

5. Is your lawn cut too short?

Like shade, cutting grass too short can weaken it, especially when the plant is also under stress from other environmental conditions. Short grass in combination with shade can provide the conditions that make it easier for moss to take over.


Remove the Moss

thatching rakemoss removal through dethatching


After you have identified the probable causes of the moss in your lawn, it’s time to physically remove the moss. For smaller lawn, a tool called a thatching rake is enough to extracted the moss. For large lawns, a powered scarifier/raker will save you a lot of difficult manual labour. If the moss is severe, chemicals can be used but there are also organic alternatives available. If in doubt, it’s always best to consult a gardening expert to determine what will work best for your lawn.

After the moss has been removed, you’ll likely notice bare patches. This is okay, especially if the majority of your lawn was covered with moss.


Change the Conditions of Your Lawn

After removing the moss, it is time improve your lawn’s condition by addressing the factors that led to its deterioration in the first place. Assuming that you’ve already identified the causes of moss in your lawn, here are the solutions you can implement depending on your own situation:


1. Loosen your lawn soil.


manual core aeration


Aerate your soil so your lawn can breath. In reducing soil compaction, air can reach the roots of the grass and drainage is also improved. The stronger and healthier your grass is, the greater the chance that it will defend against moss outbreaks.


2. Reduce shade especially on moss-affected areas.


tree trimming


Reduce the amount of shade by trimming hedges and trees that are covering the area of your grass affected by the moss. The sunlight will keep the soil from staying damp and create conditions that are better for your grass to fight off moss.


3. Practice better mowing habits.


mower on lawn


As mentioned before, cutting your grass too short can stress it. Whenever you are about to mow your lawn, check the height setting and adjust it accordingly. When mowing, follow the one-third rule as it will aid root growth. Removing more than one-third of the grass blades may stress the lawn and hinder root growth, which in-turn paves the way for moss to return.


Determining the proper mowing frequency depends on how quickly the grass grows. Certain grass types require frequent mowing to remain healthy. Allowing your grass to grow too high prior to mowing may result in thatch to build up. During warm months, it is best to mow more frequently. In the colder months, increase your cutting heights to help photosynthesis.


4. Feed the lawn.

Like other living things, nutrition is important to your lawn. Regular and sufficient feeding in spring or early summer will boost grass growth. Consult with a gardening expert about suitable weed and feed products for your lawn.


You may also consider mulch mowing as it can reduce the amount of fertilizer you need to apply to your lawn. Mulch mowing is the process of mowing to create finer yard clippings that are redistributed onto the lawn. If you do decide to go this route, it is still recommended that you bag your clippings occasionally as one of side effects of mulch mowing is thatch development. Mulching is ideally done during dry seasons and after fertilization and lawn development.


5. Consider applying top dressing to the lawn.


top dressing a lawn


Top dressing your lawn will help stimulate new grass shoots and eventually aid in leveling out and removing dips on the lawn. Top dressing is a method of adding compost or other materials to improve existing soil composition. If you are not sure about your lawn’s soil condition, have a landscaping expert check out your lawn to determine what top dressing will be most appropriate for your conditions and season.


If you are you in the Vancouver area and would like a free consultation on how to take care of your moss problem, give us a call and schedule a site visit.


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