Is Moss Invading Your Yard?

A nice shady yard is wonderful on a hot sunny day, but if your yard is really dark, chances are you’re dealing with moss in your yard. Moss grows well in damp soil, where grass doesn’t grow well.

Heavily shaded areas don’t allow for good air circulation, and often have improper drainage, which can cause soil to become compacted. Compacted soil also doesn’t let proper nutrients to be absorbed, making a hostile environment for grass, but an ideal location for moss to thrive.

Getting Rid of Moss
One of the first steps is to increase the drainage of your lawn. Using an aerating machine to pull plugs of dirt out will also help with compaction as it allows to the air to penetrate the soil, drying it out. Raking some large-grained sand into the holes will help with drainage and keep the holes from growing shut.

Even though you enjoy the shade from your large bushes or trees, seriously consider trimming them back to allow more sunlight through to the ground. The sun helps excess moisture to evaporate more quickly and dries out the soil to an acceptable level. Grass also needs the sun to grow healthy and thick.

You’ll also want to test your soil’s pH levels, since grass grows best in soil that has levels between 6 and 7. If it’s too acidic, which is common for soil with drainage issues, then grass won’t grow, opening the door for moss and other weeds.  Lime will need to be applied to neutralize the soil, but look for fast-acting lime, which will take about a month to work.

Next, look for a moss killer at your local garden store, which contains iron sulphate or ferrous ammonium sulphate. You’ll need a few days in a row that are dry and warm since the chemicals need a few days to fully dry before burning the moss, turning it black. Then, you can take a rake to it and throw it away.

Getting Grass to Grow
Since you already prepared the soil through aeration and balancing the pH levels, you’re now ready to plant some grass. Over-seed at approximately twice the amount needed for planting a new lawn, then ensure you keep it watered until it sprouts. Having an in-ground sprinkler system is perfect for this since the timer will turn the sprinklers off and on, keeping the seeds moist, but not so much it washes the seeds away. It will also benefit you after the grass has fully grown, since infrequent and deep irrigation is one of the best ways to keep grass healthy.  This may seem silly to do in an area with typically poor drainage, but once the grass grows in, you will see the drainage improve naturally.

Adding fertilizer will also help restore nutrients and nitrogen to the once infertile soil, adding nitrogen at a rate of 2 kg per 100 square meters per year.

Keeping your lawn healthy through proper irrigation, mowing, fertilization and aeration, is the best way to keep the moss at bay.