Moss is a common problem in shade filled lawns, and if your yard has this problem then the question you need to ask isn’t so much “How do I get rid of it,” but “Why is it here in the first place?”
Moss is one of the dinosaurs of the horticultural world. It’s a plant that has been around since the first plants came into being, and as a result it’s needs are very basic. Moss isn’t really as much a problem plant as it is an indicator of what is really going on at the soil line in your yard and garden. Moss will appear if your soil is compacted, features a low ph, a lack of direct sunlight, and a lack of organic material. It thrives in rocky spots, moist and poorly drained spots, and impenetreble, hard-pan, construction-grade soil.
One of the first things you need to do when you have a Moss problem is to really examine the location it’s living in and see if the soil you currently have is capable of supporting another type of plant. Are your issues simply poor soil and drainage? Do you have a shady lot? And lastly, are your plans for your yard the antithesis of what is naturally sustainable? Do yourself a favor and tackle those questions in order.
Ways to Improve Your Soil:
“Soil” may not even exist in your yard yet. The honest truth is that if you have a moss problem, you may only have “dirt” in your yard. The best way to create a more hospitable environment for lawn grass, or garden plants is to incorporate organic material into your soil.
- Core Aerate . Rent a core aerator from your local home improvement store, or call a contractor to do this for you. Use the aerator in a checkerboard fashion across your yard to ensure that you uniformly loosen the soil and create pockets across your yard for water, air, and soil to mix in.
- Use a Mulching Lawn Mower if you are not already, and work composting into your yard’s maintenance program. Composting is the cheapest and best thing you can do with your yard after core aeration. It’s a free process that doesn’t take too much time, and will produce rich organic soil for the lawn that you can rake in, and completely renovate your yard.
- Add quality organic material to your lawn. Whether it is through composting, or more costly bagged material from the garden center, if you have moss in your yard you need to improve your soil. Use soil in tandem with aeration and raking, and expect to repeat the process every other season to allow the nutrients to be absorbed into the soil, and change the composition of it. With hard pan soil this process will need to be repeated for several years if you want to grow flowers or lawn in the moss covered area.
Multiple treatments of Lime powder are often prescribed for Moss problems, but these aren’t guarnteed to fix the problem because the real problem isn’t just the Moss or the lower ph, but the soil’s inability to support the grass you are repeatedly sowing. Lime is one natural chemical that does have beneficial uses in the garden for raising the ph, and making nutrients more available, but it won’t solve the whole situation for you. If you’re looking for a Moss free yard you first need to ammend your soil to build it up, and as a result of that you will end up with a far healthier lawn that will automatically lose the moss as a better balance is achieved between the organic material, necessary metals, and nutrients.