Why does moss appear on your lawn?

Moss can appear on the lawn if at least one of the following is present:

  • the acidic pH of the soil – inadequate for the lawn,
  • hard and compacted soil
  • too much shade
  • excessive moisture of the turf
  • lack of/excessive fertilisation
  • low turf density
  • compacted turfgrass and presence of thatch
  • weak turf after diseases or freezing

 

 

Moss as a pioneer plant can invade most habitats. This is a weed difficult to remove. In gardens moss can creep into concrete or stony driveways, flowerpots and even lawns. Also, it thrives well among grass – the weaker the grass is, the faster moss grows.

 

Treatment of moss – how to fight moss on your lawn?

Unfortunately, this is a difficult, labour –intensive and time-consuming task requiring the application of several methods at the same time. You have it done by our Wellgarden staff or try on your own.

Below you will find some methods of preventing moss on your lawn:

Chemical moss treatment – applying herbicides

Chemical herbicides are usually very effective, however the effects they produce are rather short-term. Spraying should be performed repeatedly and systematically over several weeks as moss tends to re-grow. Hence, it would be best to combine chemical prevention, agrotechnical operations and the below prevention methods to reinforce the effects.

Before you start applying herbicides, you need to mow your lawn short enough to enable the spray liquid to penetrate the moss. Applying the moss killer can be done with a sprayer, as is the case with other herbicides. Such products are recommended to use since early spring when the moss grows rapidly. More detailed information regarding doses, shelf-life, spray liquid preparation and safety measures is contained in the instructions provided with a particular herbicide.

Proper lawn fertilisation

Only regular fertilisation ensures bright green and healthy lawn. There is no moss on a healthy turf as there is no room for it! You can’t forget about fertilising the soil under the lawn. Prior to fertilisation, it is recommended to test a sample of your soil’s pH factor and composition. Only this way you will know the kind of fertiliser to use along with the appropriate dosage.

Applying fertilisers at a guess can lead to over-fertilisation and soil sterilisation – a state when there is a low level of elements in the soil. It is best to use mineral fertilisers in granules with prolonged release (nutrients are gradually released from granules into the soil even for over three months).

Inadequate soil for grass – ideal for moss

Moss rarely appears on a sandy, dry and free-draining surface. It usually occurs on a heavy, compacted and excessively moist soil with no proper drainage.

On a heavy ground turfgrass grows weakly because its roots cannot penetrate lower levels of the ground. Moss does not put roots into the soil but it anchors itself to the surface using short structure called rhizoids. Besides, it will grow faster than grass provided that favourable conditions exist.

Additionally, on a heavy and compacted soil grass has a hindered uptake of water during a period of drought. After a heavy rainfall, grass decays in the water. To scarify the soil, it is recommended to aerate and sandblast the lawn. You can rake the turfgrass if the lawn is small.

Grass likes to grow in soil with pH level 6,0-6,5, whereas moss likes more acidic surface -pH 5,5. If moss appears on our lawn, it is worthwhile to test the pH of the soil. Once soil pH is too low, you should apply the calcium-based fertiliser to deacidify soil.

Dark and wet environment – this is what moss likes most!

Moss grows weakly during a period of drought. A moist environment, on the other hand, creates ideal conditions for the fast lawn growth therefore it needs excessive but occasional watering instead of the insufficient but frequent one. Owing to this, water will sneak into the lower layers of the soil to which grass roots have access to as opposed to mosses short rhizoids. In the same manner, excessive sun exposure causes moss to dry out while shade causes it to thrive well.

In shaded areas it is best to seed the lawn with a shade tolerant grass seed mix. If the lawn grows poorly in such conditions, you should consider giving up grass in favour of ground-cover plants.

It is worth remembering that in case of excessive shade and humidity, the lawn tends to be troubled by disease.

Weak grass = strong moss

Moss regenerates quickly and can survive the winter period in a better condition than grass. Besides, it flourishes in the spring and spreads throughout grass weakened by freezing or disease.

If your lawn is neglected, moss will quickly creep in. The presence of thatch, which is a matted layer of dead blades of grass, contributes to the moss growth. It also discourages the soil from the access to air, water and fertilisers. As a result, thatched grass is weakened. Therefore, it is essential to conduct regular dethatching via scarifying and short but regular lawn-mowing. And last but not least, remember to dispose of the cut grass.