A healthy green lawn is a primary goal for every garden owner. And if you own a backyard or a garden, you are probably aware of the tasks and chores that need to be done at certain times of the year to keep it in tip-top condition. Like removing weeds that may affect your garden’s appearance. Fortunately, getting rid of weeds is a simple task as there are available on the market weed killers that can get the job done.
Unfortunately, not all weeds are the same. There’s a type that differs from the rest of the weeds. Moss! While dandelions and other types of weeds grow up between the grass affecting its health, moss grows because there’s something wrong going on with your lawn itself. Luckily, there’s a way to get rid of it, as there is a way to get rid of dandelions too. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get rid of moss on your lawn.
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Understanding lawn moss
Beyond telling you all about moss control, you need to know what exactly moss is. Many confuse moss with algae which is usually black. On the other hand, Moss is a rough, loose green or yellow tuft appearing between the lawn, plus it doesn’t have roots like the rest of the weeds. Moss isn’t harmful to your lawn. It won’t damage it. It will just fill any bare patches among your lawn, especially in late fall or early spring.
Why do you have moss on your lawn?
Once you know you have moss on your lawn, you need to find out why it has spread all over. The first thing you need to realise is that there’s something wrong with your lawn. Otherwise, moss wouldn’t appear. What we mean is that if your lawn were healthy enough, you would never see that pesky weed covering your backyard. So, what may be wrong with your lawn leading to moss growth?
- Low soil pH
- Pour soil drainage
- Shady areas
- Lack of nutrients
- Short grass
- Compacted soil
You need to understand that cleaning your lawn from moss isn’t the main job. It’s the first step you have to take. But, the most important stage is to make your lawn healthy again by determining and solving the issues concerning your grass.
How to get rid of moss in lawns
Moss doesn’t damage the grass. It’s just growing wherever your lawn is thin. But you shouldn’t be fooled that normal weed killers can kill moss. You need special ones, or you can get rid of it by just removing it. It’s going to be a very easy process, as it has shallow roots. If you face a more serious moss problem, you can use moss killers along with scarifying and proper lawn care.
Homemade moss killers
Available moss killers contain ferrous sulphate or iron sulphate (sulfate) on the market, which is the most effective way for moss removal. Or you can make your own using dish soap. This is what you’ll need:
- A garden hand sprayer
- Dish soap
Now, follow the below steps:
- If there are small patches of moss in your lawn, mix in the sprayer 4.5l water and 60gr dish soap. If you want to cover larger lawns, mix 120gr dish soap and 9l water.
- Spray the mixture on the moss patches, ensuring that the nozzle is a few cm above the mossy area.
- Soak the moss with the soapy solution making sure not to touch the grass as soap can kill it.
- Wait 24 hours. Meanwhile, you’ll notice that moss will turn orange or brown and finally, it will dry.
- Dig and remove the dead moss. Keep in mind to remove as much as possible.
- After scraping the moss, throw it far away from your lawn and don’t compost it. Otherwise, moss spores will spread again into your lawn.
- Finally, wait for bare patches to reseed again. After seeding, cover the patches with new, moss-free soil.
As already mentioned, moss doesn’t have roots like dandelions and other weeds do. That’s why it’s very easy to remove it either by raking or scraping. Gathering it is so simple that even your kids can do it. Here are two easy ways of removing moss.
For small moss patches, you can use a spring-tine lawn rake. Rake at the moss to loosen and lift it. Afterwards, collect and toss the moss.
Mower dethatching blade
If you’re dealing with a greater moss problem, you can get rid of it when you dethatch your lawn. Use a dethatching blade on your mower and pull up the layer of dead grass between the soil and lawn. This way, it’s easier for water and nutrients to reach the grassroots. You can dethatch any time you want.
When to apply the moss killer solution
The best time of year to apply the moss killer solution is early spring or early fall and before spreading lawn seed, which is best to be done in the early fall.
You should always apply the solution when the grass is moist and there’s no rain forecast for at least 24 hours after application. If you want to kill moss on the roof, don’t use the liquid dish to remove it. You have to treat the roof with commercial products to ensure that roof tiles will remain undamaged.
Discouraging lawn moss growth
No matter what treatment you have applied on your lawn to get rid of moss, it will keep coming back. If you want to maintain a moss-free lawn, you need to look deeper and find a way to solve the problem from its “root”. You need to change and eliminate the conditions in the lawn that help moss grow.
Pour soil conditions
Moss needs soil with low pH, or else acidic soil, to grow. Get some soil and check the pH in the local cooperative extension. The proper lawn’s pH level should be between 6.0-7.0. If your soil acidity is below 6.0-7.0, you need to make it less acidic by adding lime. Soil pH levels need time to change. Thus, the best time to do so is during the fall. Lime will have plenty of time to penetrate the soil to be ready in spring to grass seed again. What’s more, if your soil is low in nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium, you need to apply fertiliser to improve the conditions.
Another issue you need to solve is soil drainage. The mossy lawn may indicate such a problem, as moss thrives in a moisture environment. To solve the drainage problem, you need to aerate the soil either by poking holes using a garden fork or using an aerator, especially for large areas.
Food traffic and thatch make your soil compacted. Correct this issue again with proper aeration. Patch some holes through the soil using a garden fork to relieve compaction and let water and necessary nutrients reach the root system. Plus, this way, you’ll create a dry surface discouraging moss from growing.
Too many shady areas
Moss hates the sun. Hence, if you find yourself fighting with moss, check your grass. Grass needs about 6 hours of direct sunlight and 12 hours of partial sunlight every day to grow. If you realise that you have a problem with grass growth, but moss is spreading, you have to reduce areas with shade. Remove any trees or branches that might be blocking sunlight to reach the grass or thin out some of the canopies. Or else, to maintain the natural shade coming from the trees, apply mulch or pine straws.
Too short grass
When grass is too short, it encourages moss to grow. You should mow your lawn to a height of 2.5cm. Check your lawnmower and adjust the cutting heights. If your mower doesn’t have a height feature, it’s time to purchase a new lawnmower. Mowing your lawn is the best way to keep it healthy.
After taking care of it, you have to remove dead moss from your lawn as it will promote moss regrowing. You can scarify the lawn using a lawn scarifier.
Moss control and preventive measures are the best way to keep your lawn clean and out of moss once and for all. Mowing and aerating your lawn are just two of the things you can do. An effective way to get rid of moss is to create a moss killer using dish soap and water. Apply it to any area and see moss disappear. After removing moss, you may want to check how to get rid of mushrooms on the lawn as well.