Why Does My Lawn Have Moss – A Turf Grass Expert Weighs In

Moss invasion is a common problem. Your loan is no different from your body. It requires proper care and maintenance to stay healthy and free from moss.

You, among many other homeowners, could be wondering, why does my lawn have moss? There are many reasons why moss is thriving on your lawn. To find out, keep reading!

Why does my lawn have moss? Your lawn has moss because it has thin and weak grass. The soil in your lawn lacks enough nutrients, imbalanced soil PH, or you have excessive shade.

There are various ways of getting rid of moss from your lawn.

“There’s a misconception that once the moss is killed, it won’t come back. But it will if you don’t change the environment.” Kowalewski., A, turf grass expert, OSU.

Raking out the moss may be a temporary solution to the problem. You have to deal with the underlying conditions that led to its growth. Otherwise, moss will keep growing in your lawn.

Poor Drainage: Perfect Environment for Moss

Is your lawn well-drained, or are there sections of your lawn saturated with water? Poor drainage could be a result of using clay soil or compacted soil that retains moisture.

Water gets trapped in the soil, creating a perfect environment for moss to thrive. Grass grows in well-drained soil, not soggy soil.

Excessive Shading Allows Moss to Prosper

Having trees in your lawn adds aesthetic beauty to your lawn. But too much shading prevents sunlight from reaching the grass.

Excessive shading will contribute to moist soil leading to unhealthy grass growth. There will be patches without grass, and soon, moss will start growing in the spaces.

Mosses spores live in the air. They will germinate in your lawn once it’s conducive for their growth.

Poor Mowing Can Weaken Grass, Allowing Moss to Take Over

Wondering why moss is growing after trimming your lawn? Very short mowing minimizes the chances of your grass thriving.

When the grass is too short, photosynthesis gets inhibited. Your grass starts to weaken, leaving spaces for moss to survive.

Very Acidic Or Alkaline Soil Kills Grass, Leaving Gaps for Moss

Grass does not grow in soils with very high or very low PH. Moss grows in almost all types of soil conditions.

When the soil PH in your lawn is too low or too high, nutrients lock up. The grass weakens, leaving spaces. With time, moss occupies the spaces left.

You may wonder, how do I get rid of moss in my lawn? Taking care of your lawn is not rocket science. For answers, read on!

How to Get Rid of Moss on Your Lawn

The best time to get rid of moss is during spring or autumn. The soil is well relaxed from the strain experienced during summer or winter.

A great product that can be used without detriment to your lawn can be found here. However, if not, here is a list of best practices that will get rid of moss from your lawn. You can see a variety of options that include using organic products or chemicals;

Using Dish Soap/Baking Soda to Kill Moss on Your Lawn

You can use mild liquid dish soap to get rid of moss from your lawn. Use the ratio of 2:1 ounces of dish soap and gallon of water.

If you prefer using baking soda, use the ratio of 1:2. A small box of baking soda with 2 gallons of warm water.

Pour the mixture in a sprayer and target the patches with moss. Drench away the moss using the solution. It will take about 24 hours for the patches to change color to orange after dying out.

Rake out the remaining moss and throw it in an isolated area. The grass will start spreading in the patches left by the moss. Address the underlying condition to prevent most regrowth.

Using Ferrous Sulphate To Get Rid Of Moss On Your Lawn

If you are not afraid of spraying chemicals on your lawn, use less toxic products. They should contain Ferrous Sulphate.

According to Oregon State University, you can control moss using Iron Sulfate products.

For each square meter, use 5g of Iron Sulphate dissolved in 500ml of warm water. Avoid over-application of the chemical as it may lead to toxins in the soil.

If the moss is too thick, take it out by vigorous raking from your lawn. Apply the herbicide as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

The moss will turn black in about one to two days. Remove the dried-out moss using a spring tine rake.

Getting rid of moss with appropriate products improves the condition of your lawn. Effective maintenance leads to a turf of thick and robust grass.

Here Is Table That Illustrates Why Actual House Owners Feel That Moss Is Growing on Their Lawns:

Why Does My Lawn Have MossPercentage of total results
A drainage issue might cause moss to form on your lawn28.57%
Having a low amount of pH present can cause moss to grow on the lawn35.71%
Too little sun exposure can also be a factor causing moss to grow on the lawn14.28%
The grass may be too weak and thin, allowing for moss to flourish21.42%
Data derived from lawn-care forums online

Is Moss Bad for Your Lawn?

Moss is bad and a nuisance when it grows on your lawn when you don’t want it. The presence of moss indicates that your lawn is unhealthy.

Your lawn has underlying conditions that need attention to prevent the growth of moss.

Instead of having a thick and evergreen lawn worth relaxing on, you will have patches on the grass. Also, the moss gets slippery when wet, which is dangerous to walk on. Be sure to carry out regular lawn maintenance to prevent further flair-ups.

Will Grass Grow Back after Moss Removing Moss?

Grass will grow back after removing moss from your lawn. Aerate the patches left by digging and mixing the soil.

Address all the underlying conditions as follows;

Minimizing Shading To Prevent Moss Invasion On Your Lawn

According to TW Cook & J Whisler, minimizing shading reduces the growth of moss. You can do so by pruning the trees or eradicating the trees.

Remove the excessive shading, if possible, from your lawn. Your grass will be open to sunlight. It allows photosynthesis and evaporation of excess moisture to take place.

Sunlight will also help in breaking down mineral nutrients in the soil. The grass will grow healthy and thick, leaving no room for moss.

Balancing The Soil PH Levels To Make Your Lawn Unconducive For Moss

Very alkaline and very acidic soils need neutralization. It prevents the growth of moss. Test the PH levels of your soil to address the problem. A great PH tester that is known for accuracy can be found from the company Fivota. Find the perfect PH balance for your moss here.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA uses lime to raise soil ph. Spray liquid sulfur in your lawn when the soil PH is too high.

Appropriate Mowing To Allow Re-Growth Of A Moss-Free Lawn

Effective mowing occurs by trimming your lawn grass to the appropriate length. Higher length maintains suitable thickness.

The grass develops strong roots leading to healthy growth.

Use Shade Tolerant Grass If Your Lawn Is Shady To Prevent Growth of Moss

If your lawn is shady and you have no plans of cutting down the trees, go for shade-tolerant grass. For example, Red Creeping Fescue. It thrives in dark areas.

After addressing the underlying conditions, re-seed the patches left by the moss. Spread a lawn-prepared top dressing from the garden center across the lawn.

Allow the seeds to germinate into a thriving lawn. You can use transplanted grass vines to fill up the spaces instead of seeds.

Can I Grow Moss Instead Of Grass For My Lawn?

You can use moss as a pleasant alternative to the high-maintenance lawn grass. Your lawn will have an attractive deep green ground cover.

Moss is slippery; you will have to walk through moderately if you choose to have it on your lawn.

Growing moss on your lawn will save you from the cost of buying grass and fertilizer. You will save on water and labor spent on grass maintenance.

Your lawn should meet certain conditions to have a thriving nature’s green carpet. These conditions are unconducive for growing grass on your lawn. They include;

·       Your lawn should be acidic.

·       The soil should compact or rather clay soil.

·       Your lawn should have excessive shading.

·       Your lawn should be moist and poorly drained.

McCune., B, a professor of Botany, OSU, states that moss is aesthetically beautiful. He further states that moss gardening is a cultural practice in Japan and China.

Growing moss in lawns and sidewalks is becoming popular in the USA. Moss will cover the trees in your yard, adding more beauty to your space.

Moss absorbs its nutrients from the atmosphere. It cleanses pollutants in the air. You will have the added advantage of a pollutant-free environment with moss on your lawn.

Add a pathway across your lawn or place stones in your lawn to walk on. Heavy foot traffic will fade out the moss.

Will Salt Kill Moss on My Lawn?

Salt is effective for killing moss on your lawn because moss is salt-intolerant. Use Potassium salt to kill moss. It is available in liquid form in gardening stores.

Cyrptocidals, the readily available moss-controlling soaps, contain potassium salt.

Potassium salt is a naturally occurring water-based mineral that contains biodegradable fatty acids. These properties make it suitable for killing moss.

  • Potassium salt is environment friendly which minimizes the possibility of poisoning other plants.
  • It does not contain Zinc or Iron; hence it will not corrode metals existing in your lawn.
  • However, avoid using Potassium salt to kill moss near water catchment areas or on a rainy day.
  • The salt is a hazard to aquatic life and may cause the death of fish and other water organisms.

Sodium Hypochlorite salt, commonly known as chlorine bleach, is very effective in killing moss.

But, do not use it on your lawn. It will kill the grass leaving your lawn in a devastating state.

Do I Have to Kill Moss before Scarifying?

Apply moss killer containing Ferrous Sulphate a few weeks before lawn scarification. The moss will dry out, making it easier to remove without spreading spores.

Best Tips for an Effective Lawn Scarification to Kill Moss

  1. Scarify your lawn when the moss becomes a complete nuisance in your lawn. Scarification is unnecessary when the moss occupies a tiny part of your lawn.
  2. The best time to carry out scarification on your lawn is during late spring and autumn. The lawn is neither too dry nor too wet during this period.
  3. As a precaution, only scarify your lawn when the grass is strong and well-rooted. Scarification is a vigorous raking process that may damage your grass if it’s not strong.
  4. Mow your lawn before scarifying to achieve effective results. Mowing removes any unwanted debris on your lawn, such as leaves and twigs. Excessive grass is a barrier to lawn scarifying.
  5. Water your lawn after scarification to prepare it for re-seeding. You can choose to scarify when the rains are only a few weeks to pouring.
  6. Go heavy on reseeding; in particular, plant more seed in patches that had moss invasion.
  7.  Add fertilizer to your lawn to stimulate the growth of fresh grass on your lawn.

Your lawn will look very unpresentable after the scarification process. More of an abandoned landmine. But healthy and strong will start growing within a short time.

Scarifying your lawn at the right time allows your grass to grow back in only a few weeks. The fresh grass thrives on your lawn, giving it a healthy appearance.

Scarification opens up the grass root zone to air and light. In return, the grassroots will begin to shoot, producing a thick and robust layer of grass.

Which Is the Pet-Safe Way for Killing Moss on My Lawn?

Every method you use to remove moss will affect your pets. Whether you use soap or chemicals, your pets will be at risk. But you can minimize risk exposure.

Remember that using soap to remove soap will irritate the eyes and skin of your pet. Only allow pets in your lawn after the soap solution has dried.

Chemical solutions are harmful to you and your pets. Wear protective gear when spraying chemicals into your lawn. Keep pets away in a safe space.

According to experts, OSU; follow the directions on the chemical moss killer. It will minimize the risk to pets.

Chemical moss killers containing iron and sulfur have low toxicity levels. Only when used in low doses. They break up and infiltrate into the moss layer, reducing exposure to pets.

Final Thoughts

Moss invasion on your lawn is a nuisance when it’s not wanted. You are likely to observe moss during or immediately after winter or summer.

PH imbalance, excessive shading, and compact soil are the ideal conditions for moss. Assess your lawn for any unconducive conditions. Address them appropriately for a healthy lawn.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label when using chemical moss killers. It will protect you, your grass, your pet, and the environment from poisoning.

Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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