Healthy grass growth is easy to maintain and can help create a relaxing environment in your yard. However, moss can sometimes take over and make your efforts seem less than worthwhile.
Moss thrives in shady areas of your garden and grows where grass has failed to establish a presence or is struggling to do so; it will replace grass with moss. Knowing how to get rid of moss and grow grass can be overwhelming for many gardeners.
Luckily, it seems challenging, yet there are many ways to get rid of moss. In our guide, you can learn why is moss growing in your garden and how you go about removing moss to obtain better grass growth.
By the end, you’ll have enough information to use any of the techniques to control moss and end up growing grass that is healthy and lush by re-seeding lawn with new grass seed after dead moss removal. (Read Lawnmower Starts But Won’t Stay Running)
Can You Grow Grass on Top of the Moss?
Mosses hardly ever harm grasses. Instead, the mosses prefer places where there are no grasses or where the grass is weak at the root system. You can spread grass seed and moisten the area to prevent moss from actively growing there.
However, you should know the issue is more severe if you notice mosses growing there instead of grass. Since grass plants cannot grow in acidic soil, mosses enjoy these conditions.
By fixing compacted soil, drainage, low soil pH, and adequate sunlight, you can grow grass on top of the moss in the backyard.
How To Remove Moss Growth From Your Lawn
Moss can be a common problem after wet winters. This resilient plant spreads quickly across the whole lawn in the right conditions. Cutting the grass can be tricky, and the look isn’t as appealing.
While you get small patches of moss in shaded areas, there are other reasons for its growth. Here’s more about why you get a Mossy lawn.
Excess thatch: Decaying plant stems and organic materials naturally assemble in a lawn. Although this organic material is difficult to decompose, it helps maintain your lawn’s surface water, thus offering the ideal conditions.
Weak grass: A lawn is a contest between various kinds. Weak grass makes it easy for moss and weeds to spread and take up the spaces where grass typically grows.
Weak lawns are frequently caused by a lack of lawn care, a lack of much-needed nutrients, and drought stress.
Shade: Moss thrives best in areas under trees, especially. The grass becomes brittle and weak from a lack of nutrients and sunlight, yet moss thrives in the moist shade.
Cutting grass too short: Mowing your grass too short is never a good idea because it can make it weak, especially in winter. Moss will encroach if the grass is weak because it can overwhelm it.
Compacted or clay soils: High-traffic areas and well-used lawns will suffer from moss because of compacted soil, which makes it difficult for nutrients to reach the roots and encourages moss growth.
With compact or poorly draining soil, you will need to start improving drainage before starting your moss removal.
You may wonder, can you put topsoil over moss? You may think you have gotten rid of moss, yet the underlying issue isn’t fixed. You can find better safety precautions to stop moss growing. (Find the Best Weed And Feed For Florida Lawns)
How To Control Moss On A Lawn?
Here are several steps you can follow to control moss:
1. Moss Killer
Your initial call should be to a reliable moss-killing remedy. Most lawn moss killers use the same methods for drying the moss, turning it black, and shrinking it from the grass. Now, the grass can breathe and grow again.
This could be sufficient if you only have small patches of moss growth. However, if you have more moss, you’ll need to include other steps.
Here, we will be physically removing the moss from the lawn and do so by scraping it away so the lawn can breathe and the grass plant can get nutrients.
Several tools are available for this:
- Light equipment could be challenging to use on small lawns. Thus a spring garden rake is ideal.
- Electric scarifier is faster than by hand. However, it may take a few passes to get the optimum outcome.
- A petrol scarifier has solid blades and is more effective for larger lawns.
3. Remove Some Moss
Set the blades/tines of your selected instrument, so they simply brush the soil surface to remove moss and thatch. You shouldn’t remove all the moss; instead, rake until you can see the soil beneath, leaving plenty of grass to spread out and thicken where the moss was.
4. Apply Moss Killer
When most of the moss is gone, use your moss killer. The solution will kill practically all moss. Apply moss killer a month before scarification and a few days following, but follow the advice on your brand to avoid overdosing.
This involves making hundreds of holes in the lawn to increase airflow and drainage. This method is a challenge and only suitable for a small lawn. Sink the tines of a garden fork 2-6 inches into the soil and 6 inches apart.
A petrol aerator has solid or hollow tines, which remove a 1/2-inch-wide soil core. You can find these are the best way to relieve compaction. Use your chosen method and cover the entire lawn in straight lines from one side to the other. Aeration improves ventilation and drainage, removing moss’s growing circumstances and preventing its reappearance.
6. Lawn Treatment For Grass Plants
Now you have removed the moss; you need to stop it from returning. The grass will spread out and fill the spaces where the moss formerly lived, with a regular lawn care routine that includes fertilizer and weed killer. (Read Lawn Mower Won’t Start When Hot)
Feed and weed
From spring to fall, regular feed at a rate of once every ten weeks will promote a strong, healthy lawn.
Fall Moss treatment
All that may be required to prevent moss in a well-kept lawn is a moss-killer application in the fall and possibly again in the early spring.
Proper mowing technique
Set the blades of your lawn to a height of 1 to 1.5 inches off the ground. Longer leaf blades are stronger and healthier, resulting in a thicker lawn that is harder for moss spores to invade.
Scarification and aeration
Light scarification and aeration help prevent the recurrence of a thick mat or fresh layer of moss making an appearance.
Reseeding a moss-covered lawn
If the bare patches are extremely large and the moss in the lawn is thick, other seeds may need to be applied because, if left unattended, the moss will quickly return to the exposed areas.
Spreading seed on moss serves no purpose. Furthermore, spreading seed would be ineffective since grass seed needs to touch the soil to germinate.
- For optimal results, scarify the lawn thoroughly first for moss removal.
- Spread a layer of seed at around 35g per m2 over the scarified soil.
- Because bare seed will quickly dry out, it should be covered with soil to keep moisture and heat.
- The fresh seed should sprout in 7–14 days, but you should ensure it does so in late spring or early autumn when the soil temperature is 8 degrees or above.
Additional Notes For Getting Rid Of Moss
Cutting the grass short with your lawnmower makes the entire process easier. In addition, if your lawnmower has a grass collection box, you can use it to gather moss to save from raking your lawn.
Moss Killer or Iron Sulphate
Moss can be killed with moss killer or Ferrous Sulfate. However, remember that this solution can’t penetrate the top layers and get to the soil level. What happens is you waste time and money. So remember to rake first and then apply your chosen moss killer.
Regardless of the method of removing moss from the whole lawn, you’ll need to rake moss from your lawn. If you apply Ferrous Sulphate, ensure the lawn is damp, which helps it penetrate the moss. If you’re using another moss killer, follow the package instructions, as some products from potassium soap of fatty acids need you to have a dry lawn kill moss in your lawn.
After applying moss killer, wait 7 days for optimal results. Even when dead, you may need to rake any remaining moss off your grass to the bare soil.
Why Moss Thrives With Poor Lawn Care?
Here’s more information on why you get moss because of other reasons.
Acidic or Infertile Soil
Test your soil to see if it’s suitable for grass, as acidic soil hinders grass growth. However, moss likes acidic soil, and your turf grass pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0.
Apply amendments as advised by the test results to get your soil to a level that’s better for your grass. For example, lime boosts pH levels, making the soil less acidic.
The soil test shows what nutrients to add to improve soil fertility. When grass doesn’t have enough nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium, moss can grow. Therefore, some fertilizer formulas incorporate moss-control chemicals.
Poor Soil Conditions
It is simpler for moss to infiltrate your lawn when the soil is compacted, and there is too much thatch. Poor drainage results from these circumstances, limiting the flow of oxygen, water, and nutrients to grass roots.
If required, aerate and dethatch your lawn; dethatching will help get rid of any moss that has already started to be removed.
Areas that have shady spots are better for moss than grass. To allow more sunlight to reach the lawn, prune nearby trees and shrubs. Establishing shade-tolerant grass species like fine fescue, St. Augustine, or rough bluegrass is an additional choice.
Another excellent choice for shady areas is pachysandra, periwinkle, and sweet woodruff as ground covers. (Read Best Time Of Day To Fertilize Lawn)
Insufficient water will promote moss growth and stunt grass. Only water your lawn to complement rain, and use the rain gauge to monitor your lawn’s water. You can spot drought stress indicators, such as wilting, poor color, and grass that won’t spring back when walking on.
A brown, dormant lawn is another sign, but you’ll need to keep watering it all season. Grass can thin during a drought, allowing moss to give when cooler weather and showers arrive. On the other hand, too much water makes the soil too wet for grass and promotes moss. Insufficient drainage causes excess water. Grading, fixing low places, aerating, and dethatching can improve drainage.
Moss growth will also be possible on lawns that other pressures have damaged. Turfgrass has difficulty growing due to pests, disease, heavy foot traffic, and animal harm. Moss might cover any barren places in your yard. Mowing the grass too short will also harm it and encourage moss growth.