Everyone wants their lawns to look gorgeous. It’s important to many homeowners to have that picture-perfect yard. Ultimately, this means taking care of it, maintaining it, and watering it.
However, other things can start growing and taking over the grass. Moss is a huge concern in many areas, and you want to get rid of it fast.
You should know why you’ve got moss in the lawn, how to get rid of it, and how to prevent it from returning. That way, you are armed with knowledge and can start working to restore your grass.
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Why Is There Moss in My Lawn?
Moss taking over the lawn is a common problem for many homeowners. If moss is thriving, it means that the grass is weak and thinned out for some reason, which allows moss to take over.
There are many causes of this. These can include:
- Excessive shade in one area
- Poorly draining soil
- Compacted soil
- Low fertility in the soil
- Low or high soil pH
- Poor air circulation
Another issue could be that you haven’t been maintaining the lawn. This includes mowing the grass and watering it when necessary. You should also be using a fertilizer designed for the type of grass you have.
Ways to Get Rid of Moss in Lawn
There are numerous ways to get rid of the moss in your lawn. However, with so many choices, you may wonder which is the best. To make it a bit easier, it’s important to talk about natural and chemical methods so that you can choose the ideal one for your lawn care needs.
Control Lawn Moss Naturally
One method that sees great results by everyone is to rake your lawn. You can do it by hand to get rid of smaller moss patches. Consider using a spring-tine rake.
The trick is that you have to rake the moss at different angles to lift and loosen it. Once you’ve done that, collect it all and put it in the trash or a compost bin.
You can also rake it with a dethatching blade attached to your mower. This works well for large moss problems.
Put the dethatching blade on the push mower. This pulls up thick layers of dead grass between the living lawn and soil and helps to get rid of the moss. Consider dethatching in the early summer or spring to help the soil and the plants.
However, you can also dethatch any time of year if you have moss growth. It’s going to help the lawn.
It’s also possible to use a power rake, which is a gas-powered machine. They look like lawnmowers, but they remove thatch and moss instead of clipping the grass. Power raking is tough on the lawn, so don’t do it very often.
There’s also the dish soap method. Though some people don’t believe that it’s a natural remedy because the soap contains chemicals, it is a lot gentler on the grass than commercially-made chemical products. Here are the steps:
1. For a small patch of moss, mix 2 ounces of your favorite dish soap with 1 gallon of water. If you have a bigger area, use 4 ounces of your dish soap with 2 gallons of water for 1,000 square feet.
2. Add the mixture to a hand sprayer and spray it on the moss. Hold your spray nozzle about 2 inches from the targeted area for best results. Make sure to drench the moss thoroughly.
3. In 24 hours, the moss patches should turn orange or brown. Eventually, they are going to dry up. Then, you can rake up the dead patches.
4. Reseed your lawn with grass if necessary. Otherwise, wait a few weeks for the grass to come back in the bare patches.
Control Lawn Moss with Chemicals
You can also use various chemicals to kill moss. An herbicide is the best choice, and you can easily mow it out of the lawn. However, the two most common chemicals used against moss do have downsides.
Still, they’re very strong. Make sure you’re following the directions on the label carefully. It’s also important to keep your pets and children away from the lawn when you’re using chemicals.
Glyphosate is an active ingredient in RoundUp and other chemical compounds. Though it can work, there are mixed results when it comes to moss. The issue is it can kill plants and grass if it comes in contact with them, so only use it on bare soil where moss has permeated.
Iron sulfate is much more effective than glyphosate and kills the moss by drying it out. The moss is going to turn black within hours and works fully in a day or so. Plus, iron sulfate doesn’t hurt the grass.
It’s often found in lawn fertilizers. However, it can cause rust and stains on brick, stone, and concrete. Make sure you wash away the herbicide immediately and scrub the area with a brush to prevent staining.
Remember, you can’t go to the store and buy glyphosate or iron sulfate. You must look at moss killing products and make sure that they contain either of the ingredients. It’s often possible to find products labeled as ‘moss and weed killer’.
They are available as concentrated formulas or ready-to-spray options. In a sense, they can kill lawn moss and other weeds that you may have on the lawn.
There are also some granular moss killers out there. You can sprinkle them with a fertilizer spreader or by hand. While you have to follow the directions, they can work in about two hours.
Typically, these products are designed to work when the moss is actively growing. Therefore, you should use them in the spring and fall when the temperatures are cooler. Make sure that you mow the space short and remove any excess moss before using the chemicals.
Prevent Lawn Moss from Growing Back
Once you’ve gotten rid of the moss from the lawn, your goal is not to let it come back this season or ever again. Controlling moss takes more than killing what’s already there. The best way to prevent the moss from coming back is to figure out why it started growing in the first place.
There could be many reasons that moss is growing on the lawn. They include:
- Soggy Soil – Moss typically thrives in damp conditions, so if the lawn doesn’t drain well or gets too much water, moss can form. Try not to water so often to fix the problem. If the soil doesn’t drain well, make sure to aerate it.
- Shade – Moss usually prefers the shady spots on the lawn, such as under trees and where structures have blocked sunshine. Most grass types do better in full sun, so consider devoting those shady areas to perennials, hardy shrubs, and other plants. That way, you’re using the space, and moss can’t get a foothold.
- Infertile or acidic soil – Check the soil’s pH level and nutrients with a soil test kit, which can be found at garden centers and online. If the soil is acidic (which is great for moss and bad for grass), you can add some lime to balance it out. When soil fertility is the problem (low levels of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium), you can use fertilizers or supplements to help remedy the situation.
- Compacted soil – If the soil is heavily compacted, it’s going to stop grass growth because water and nutrients can’t get to the roots. However, moss doesn’t mind. You can break up hard soil with an aerator as needed.
When the shade is a huge concern, consider trimming back the tree branches. That way, sunlight gets to the lawn. You can also plant shade-tolerant grass.
One of the most effective and easiest ways of preventing moss growth on the lawn is to practice good lawn care. Fertilize it regularly and mow it as recommended for your grass type. This is going to encourage deeper root growth.
Moss growth on your lawn is a huge concern. It’s unsightly, and it is annoying to see that it overtakes your grass and kills it. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.
The first step is going to get rid of the moss. We covered many ways to do that, which gives you ample options to try.
Once the moss is gone, you’ve got to figure out why it started growing. This can take a little time and trial and error, but it’s essential. Then, you can fix the problem so that moss doesn’t get a foothold later.
Ultimately, the process can take some time. However, you’re going to feel great when the moss is gone.