Moss on Lawns
By Doug Green
Just about right now, we start to see moss on
lawns and the plaintive cry goes up, “How do we stop it?”
The first thing to understand is that moss is not going to survive
in a healthy lawn. The existence of moss is a symptom that the
lawn is not in good shape.
Thicken up the turf. Thin grass allows moss to thrive. Apply
two pounds of grass seed per thousand square feet of lawn every
fall to thicken up the lawn and mow existing turf at the highest
Moss also tends to invade lawns with fertility problems so the
second thing to do is feed your existing lawn. Ensure it is getting
a full two pounds of Nitrogen per thousand square feet and check
how to do this on websites or at your favourite garden centre.
Feeding lawns at rates higher than two pounds per square foot
tends to produce lush grass that overgrows and is more attractive
Overfeeding is also a major cause of thatch (note that thatch
is another symptom of poor lawn management).
Moss is also created by excessive shade. If shade is the problem,
either cut down the trees or substitute ground covers (like moss!)
for the grass.
Poor soil drainage is another culprit and this excessive water
creates conditions beloved of moss. The solution to this is fairly
obvious – improve the drainage.
Finally, poor compacted soils support moss rather than grass
plants. Aeration with a coring machine will help solve this problem
as will keeping the lawn roller off the turf.
The short term solution is to apply iron sulfate to the lawn
at rates recommended on the labels.
This will “burn” away the moss but the moss will
return unless the underlying conditions are remedied.
lawn will not support moss.
Doug Green is the award winning author of 7 gardening books and
the publisher of several ebooks. His home page can be found at
and his blog at http://www.simplegiftsfarm.com/gardens-gardening-news.html