Moss In The Lawn

IMG 3390 e1288671760963 Moss In The Lawn

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 Moss In The Lawn 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.

The Value Of Core Aeration

img 0399 225x300 The Value Of Core AerationIf you can only afford to do one thing to your yard this year, core aeration is what you should do! Core aeration is the hands-down best thing for the long term health of any lawn, regardless of the organic make-up of your soil, or variety of grass you have planted.

Core aeration benefits all soil types, and mature or juvenile lawns, here’s how:

The best soil in the world needs three things to provide for plant’s needs, those things are water, air, and organic matter. Soil without these three things can’t provide a healthy balance of organisms, and nutrition in the soil to encourage a healthy lawn. Whether your lawn is new or old, it can always benefit from aeration either alone, or in tandem with a re-seeding program, to ensure a healthy balance of the three things a lawn needs most!

  1. For rocky, or nutrient lacking soil, core aeration breaks up the soil, loosening hard-pan dirt, and allowing oxygen, and moisture into the root area. Core aeration then becomes a tool that can better prepare your soil for “top dressing”, seed, or fertilizer.
  2. In compacted soil, aeration provides your grass with a better chance of survival, giving roots looser areas to grow in, thereby encouraging deeper root growth. Aerating compacted soil also reduces the water run-off.
  3. For new lawns, core aeration gives you a great head start in preparing your yard for seed, fulfilling the three basic need of a yard, and providing holes deeper in the ground for young shoots to begin life. Often core aeration can often give your yard a jump start after “clean slate overseeding” (beginning a new yard from scratch), producing quick “plugs” of grass across your yard that will fill in the lawn faster than simple overseeding alone.
  4. For older lawns, aeration can loosen, and prevent excessive thatching of the lawn as well as allowing deeper penetration of water, minerals, and air. With a thick, lush lawn, aeration can be used as a quick refresher, balancing out the three basic needs of the grass, and preventing the overcrowding in a lawn that can open your yard up to pests and disease.

The bottom line with core aeration is that it is a quick and “green” way to make a real difference in the overall health of your lawn no matter your circumstances, and a healthy lawn requires fewer pesticides, fertilizers, and time to maintain! Check your budget this year, and consider whether you can impliment core aeration as part of your lawn care program.

For more great tips on lawn core aeration and how best to aerate your lawn, read Home Construction Improvement’s article on what you need to know to aerate your lawn yourself.