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  Is Your Lawn Mossy?
  April 7th, 2006

Lots of Rain & Poor Drainage May be the Cause

Moss is one of the most persistent and annoying weeds that occurs in home lawns, but you can control it.

Moss is an opportunistic plant that grows in bare soil or where grass is weak and thin, and the soil is wet and compacted. Once moss has invaded the lawn, grass won’t spread into those areas.

To control moss, you have to consider the reasons why it began to grow in your lawn. Moss usually thrives under conditions that don’t encourage good turf growth, such as poor soil fertility, heavy shade, excessive moisture or shallow, rocky and poorly drained soils.

If shade or moisture limits good turf growth, steps can be taken to correct the situation. For example, remove some trees or tree branches to increase sunlight and air circulation, or plant grasses or other ground covers that are adapted to shady and/or damp areas.

Fine fescues adapt best to shaded, well-drained soils, while Perennial Rye or Blue Grass is better adapted to shaded, moist soils. But neither of these species survives in extremely heavy shade or soils that are saturated for long periods.

If it’s difficult, or impossible, to correct the problem area, you might consider putting in a small pond and letting the moss grow around it.

The best cure is prevention. Change the conditions that allow the moss to grow well. Start by core aerating the lawn. Rake away the plugs that are removed. Add 1/8″ to 1/4″ of compost over the top. In addition, apply pelletized gypsum to the top and water in until dissolved. Over a period of a few weeks, the soil will drain much better and the moss will gradually disappear.

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