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Closeup of the center and partial petals of a deep yellow sunflower.

Moss In Your Lawn

Moss is a very common and widespread issue affecting home lawns to varying degrees. Most home owners either have moss now or will notice a slow invasion of it over time as the micro-climate changes and turf thins. Moss exists because grass has lost the battle for a variety of reasons which I will discuss in this blog post.
It may come as no surprise, but moss appreciates shade, wet conditions, compacted and acidic soil that grass hates. In fact, when it comes to survival, a weak lawn will slowly thin and fade away into the sunset while moss flourishes, happy to take over the lawn space. So what can be done?
Moss is a result of poor site conditions, it did not kill your grass. Quite the opposite is true, the grass thinned and died and moss simply moved in…nothing personal! Moss does not kill grass, it simply seizes the opportunity and gladly moves into your once established “lawn” area.
Solving a moss problem means addressing the underlying site conditions and then moving forward with reseeding with appropriate turf grasses for the site. Addressing the underlying conditions means putting a good plan into place at the right time. Here is what needs to happen:
– Aerate the lawn to reduce compaction
– Lime to reduce soil acidity, preferably a calcium lime to further address compaction while adding calcium
– Spraying the moss with Fiesta is optional but can immediately reduce the existing issue to prepare for seeding later
– Prune low tree limbs or shrubs to improve air circulation and increase light
– Add compost tea over time to improve the soil biology, making it more turf friendly and less sterile
– Top dress with a high quality loam to prepare a seed bed if appropriate
– Finally, seed aggressively with superior shade tolerant grasses and be sure to mow high at 3”
Once these steps are completed, the key is to take care of the established turf by executing a low impact lawn care program. The recommended lawn program would generally not include using a lot of herbicides, but would include compost tea, annual liming, annual core aeration and overseeding to replace or thicken the existing lawn, and a few well-timed slow release fertilizers, preferably natural or organic in composition.
Remember, moss is not the enemy, it’s simply doing what it does best because your lawn is not being cared for to the best of your ability. Proper lawn care can tip the scales from moss to grass.