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To Moss or Not to Moss—
A Few Tips For Lawn Care and Moss Removal

Lawn moss is a blessing or a pain, depending on your point of view. Though moss is considered to be a weed, it does fill in blank areas with a green carpet that compliments, but will not entirely take over like other weeds. Moss does not absorb nutrients through their roots, so while moss can grow on trees, they never leach nutrients from or harm the tree. Some gardeners, especially in Japan, cultivate mosses for the calm and stillness it adds to a garden. Still, some people hate to see their lawn investment encroached upon by moss. They fear the moss will take over entirely (very unlikely), or deem it to be unsightly. Ridding yourself of moss can be a painstaking process. Moss thrives in areas with high moisture content or where the sun rarely or never reaches. A few things you can do to prevent moss: make sure that you:

       1) do not over water your lawn
       2) stick to a fertilizing regime
       3) provide adequate drainage for free standing water
       4) do not mow too low
       5) break up soil where it is compacted or is full of dead grass
       6) trim branches to expose the moss to the sun

If moss comes around you can kill it with a product like Moss-Out or a fertilizer containing ferrous sulfate or ferrous ammonium sulfate such as Scotts Turf Builder with Moss Control 22-2-2. Use moss control products in early spring or late winter. Note: do not just rip out live moss. Moss spreads by spores which are released when ripped or torn out. Once the moss is DEAD you can tear it out by the tuffs full or rake it out with a stiff rake.

Remember though, if you are serious about your aversion to moss you must avoid over watering or mowing to low. Also, provide adequate drainage where there is free standing water and don't forget to treat compacted soil, remove dead grass (thatch) and, finally, fertilize.

Now that the moss is gone you may notice a somewhat conspicuous bare area. Believe me, the moss wants to come back and nature really does abhor a vacuum, so get some fescue or whatever sort of lawn you planted, rake the soil with a stiff rake, and re-seed. Seeds need to be kept moist, so set your timer for five minutes a day, every day for at least a week. If the seeded area appears light brown it is not getting enough water. Water it by hand if you have to, but keep it moist until you start seeing sprouts.

Once the new grass gets started, don't forget to change the water schedule back to 10-20 minutes, two or three times a week, depending on your climate. If you have too much water runoff, cut the water time in half, but then schedule another similar time about an hour later. For example, set the timer to go off at 4:30 am for, say, 15 minutes, then again at 5:30 am for another 15 minutes, Monday and Thursday. This will foster a deeper soaking of the soil and prevent water waste.

But to completely avoid any headaches on the topic of moss removal, get a Japanese perspective and enjoy your moss. Tell people you planted it yourself. They will be dazzled by your gardening acumen and may ask you for tips on how to grow moss in their back yard.

For even more information about lawns and moss check out this informative website: thehousingforum.com Look below the article for "related posts" for even more information.



Arroyo Grande Gardening 805-704-9704