Moss will find its way onto roofs, walls, pavements, rocks, and even the bottom of lakes and ponds, not to mention our lawns. While it can be beautiful in certain settings, like cloaking a forest floor or hugging a tree, the small flowerless plants lose their appeal when they invade less desirable spaces, such as our gardens and lawns.
Opinions about moss vary, some people love it while others loathe it.
Moss can however be problematic for those who want a thriving lawn because the presence of moss can sometimes suggest underlying issues. Moss will compete against your grass for growing space and if you have poor lawn care, it will win.
It’s vital to have good lawn care maintenance to remain moss-free.
WHAT IS MOSS?
There are over 10,000 different moss species in the world, and the UK is home to 600 of them. Most are found in natural areas but there are several different types that can grow in our lawns.
Moss is a non-flowering plant that produce spores and have stems and leaves, but don’t have true roots. Moss is attached to the surfaces from which they grow by tiny structures called rhizoids.
Moisture is essential to moss survival, and it thrives in damp/shady conditions.
Moss is considered a nuisance and a weed due to its negative impact to lawns; and if left to spread, can take over the grass.
Though moss spreads easily and can grow on all soil types, its presence doesn’t mean a lawn is doomed. Moss can be eradicated/prevented if the conditions favourable to its growth are removed.
WHAT CAUSES MOSS IN LAWNS AND HOW TO COMBAT IT?
Our lawns naturally build up a layer of dead grass, roots and other matter which is known as thatch. Unfortunately, thatch creates an environment on your lawn which moss cannot resist. The best way to combat thatch is for us to carry out Aeration and Scarification. These processes help to reduce both surface thatch and below the surface thatch, relieving your lawn of thatch and subsequently moss.
A main cause of moss is the retention of water on the surface of the lawn. Moss thrives in wet soils with poor surface drainage, commonly caused by soil compaction. Aeration is the best way to treat this. It creates open spaces in the soil, greatly assisting drainage and prevents waterlogged conditions on the lawn surface.
Too much shade creates moss-loving conditions, especially beneath trees/under debris on the lawn such as leaves. You need to allow as much sunlight to reach your grass as possible, so it’s important to cut back overhanging branches, shrubs etc. Along with cleaning up any fallen leaves that cover your lawn as they form a barrier that blocks out sunlight and air, making it a perfect place for moss to thrive.
If you scalp your lawn, this allows moss to take over. A scalped lawn weakens the grass plant and makes it more vulnerable to moss invasion. We recommend to never cut your lawn less than 1’’ in height.
Poor Lawn Care
Good lawn care is essential to maintaining a healthy, moss-free lawn. An unhealthy lawn will struggle to compete with moss. For your lawn to maintain optimum health, it needs regular feeding. Our nutrient and micronutrient-rich feed encourage a much stronger-lawn which allows the grass to compete better with moss.
WHY IS LAWN MOSS A PROBLEM?
Moss will not only impact a lawns appearance but can also affect its health. How?
- Grass has to compete with moss for growing space.
- If untreated, moss will die off in summer (due to low moisture levels) but leave unsightly bald patches.
- Roots less able to receive essential water and nutrients.
- Uneven colour and surface – lawn is spongy underfoot.
- Moss can cause soil erosion by providing surface cover and absorbing water.
- Moss creates a locally humid environment and in turn, a home for invertebrates such as slugs.
- Some birds tug moss from lawns, hoping to find tasty creatures underneath – causing patches and also encouraging the spread of moss in other parts of the lawn.
HOW CAN GREENTHUMB HELP?
A good lawn maintenance programme is essential in managing moss. Simply raking out/removing moss will not prevent regrowth unless the conditions favourable to its growth are changed.
All your treatments throughout the year will have contributed greatly to a long-lasting, beautiful lawn, even throughout winter.
Our NutraGreen Autumn Long Treatment improves lawn strength; being rich in iron, it makes lawns greener as well as better able to cope with adverse conditions. And of course, helping to manage moss. It will dehydrate any moss which is present in your lawn, slowing down its growth and spread. Once the moss is dehydrated, it will turn black, meaning it is now ready to be removed from your lawn.
If you are having trouble with moss invading your lawn, contact your local branch to discuss the best treatment – they will be more than happy to help!