Although moss can not seriously harm the lawn grass, and the harm from it is mainly aesthetic, few owners intend to put up with picturesque spills. In the desire to exterminate moss on the lawn, they use different means, but not all of them work on the intruder. Let’s understand what causes the growth of this plant, what ways you can get rid of it.
Why Mosses Choose Your Lawn
Mosses (of which there are over 10,000 species) are a distinctive group of spore plants that differ markedly from grasses. They rarely grow to a large size, have no flowers, and instead of roots they have rhizoids – root-like outgrowths that serve as attachments and food.
The root system does not look powerful and does not penetrate deep into the soil, even in loose soil. However, moss is able to retain a significant amount of water, and therefore nutrients. It cannot visibly inhibit grass growth, but by taking away some of the nutrient resources, it weakens other lawn plants. Moss can compete with grasses for the following reasons:
- Improper lawn grass maintenance. It is mowed too infrequently or trimmed too low. Fertilizer is applied infrequently or ineffectively. As a result, the plants become weaker, grow worse and compete with other species.
- You are trying to grow your lawn in an area that is too wet or too shaded.
- The soil is dense, clayey or stony (often with a high water table). It is difficult for cultivated plants to develop a root system of the right size; it is difficult to get a dense planting on such a lawn, often leaving sparse seedlings.
- Plants are weakened after disease or late spring frosts.
- Soil acidity is elevated. Typically, green-velvet mosses love soils whose acidity falls below pH 5-4.5. Such soil is considered highly acidic, and this can be the reason for poor grass growth and the appearance of moss instead of lawn.
When a lawn is properly cared for, its ability to compete with foreign plants increases. So it’s easier to prevent mossy areas than to find the answer to the question of how to fight moss on your lawn. Source of text
The following recommendations will reduce the likelihood of its occurrence and help increase the stability of the grass cover:
- Improve light exposure. Moss prefers shady, moist areas, while lawn grass likes sun. To protect your lawn from extraneous plants, you’ll have to improve its light exposure. With the shade from the buildings, of course, nothing can be done, but you can do growing next to the trees: remove the lower branches, thin the crown or conduct its shaping.
- Arrange for drainage. If the site is wet, there will always be a risk of moss, and even mold. Moisture drainage system to think in advance, it may be an underground drainage system or surface drainage with a layer of clay or gravel.
- Change of lawn grass. If drainage cannot completely solve the problem (for example, the lawn is located on the north side of the site), it is worth choosing a different kind of lawn grass. Slow growing, shade-loving varieties are preferable. They will create a denser carpet, and moss will have a harder time taking root.
- Aeration. The procedure of loosening the top layer of soil helps to normalize moisture and air access. There are special mechanisms in the form of shafts with spokes, but you can do it with a fork. Aeration is carried out once or twice a year, before or/and after the growing season.
- Scarification. Instead of a mechanism with spokes, a mechanism with knives, or a rake, is used. The purpose is to cut through the ground and then remove dead stem parts, moss, fallen leaves, and other debris that interfere with growth. Scarifying is also done at least once or twice a year.
- Leveling the terrain. If the lawn has differences in elevation, moss will like a place in the wet lowlands. The phenomenon can be combated by leveling the area (at least the lawn).
Proper care of the lawn in front of the house includes the following activities:
- Periodic fertilization. The task of fertilizers is to maintain the health and strength of the grass cover, so it is important to choose a suitable mixture for fertilizing and apply it regularly, 2-3 times a year. The composition of the fertilizer and the schedule of its application depends on the variety of grass and the characteristics of the soil.
- Uniform mowing. The most important thing is to correctly calculate the height of mowing. If the grass is left too high, moss will be comfortable in its shadow (especially if the summer is wet). Cutting it too low will leave gaps in the grass, ready-made breeding grounds for the intruder. The regularity of mowing is about once a week.
- Compliance with the regime of watering. The right balance of moisture in the soil – a sure remedy against moss on the lawn. Watering should be regular and sufficient to keep the green carpet in excellent condition, and at the same time not to create a prolonged overwatering. It should not be done more often than once every 5-7 days (in summer, in the middle belt).
- Underplanting. If lawn voids appear, they must be reseeded; otherwise the empty spaces will quickly be taken over by weeds.
How to fight it: a selection of effective ways
Completely solve the problem of how to remove moss from the lawn, you can, knowing the cause of its overgrowth, and no one forbids the combination of several methods. The easiest way is to assume that since the moss has taken a fancy to the area, the soil is acidic. There are several ways to check this assumption: with a soil acid meter (electronic tester) or a ready-made test kit, a simple litmus paper will also help.
If the test result confirmed excessive acidity, you need to perform liming.
If liming does not bring results, the following preparations will help to remove moss on the lawn:
- It is not uncommon to use herbicides (glyphosate), but you should carefully study the instructions. Herbicide will not help if the lawn was treated in unsuitable weather, the drug had a weak concentration or was from a defective batch.
- Iron sulfate is an effective way to control moss plants. Use a 5% solution of the reagent (0.5 kg of powder per 10 liters of water), which is used to water the lawn in dry, hot weather. You can apply a 1% solution of copper sulfate. Using too much is highly undesirable: you could kill all the vegetation.
If you do not want to use chemicals, you can use folk methods: a solution of soda, soap or any dishwashing agent. To obtain a solution of the desired concentration, 100 g of soda (or 100 g of liquid laundry soap) is dissolved in 1 liter of water, the resulting product is treated lesions.
It is important that after treatment the grass remains dry for at least 2-3 days, otherwise the benefit of this event will not be. But, in any case, you should not wait for a sustainable effect from folk methods.
It is possible to destroy moss on the lawn with the help of a sulfate-sand mixture. Crystals of ferrous sulfate (III)-ammonium (ferric ammonium alum) are mixed with fine sand (preferably take the river) in a ratio of 1:1. The mixture is scattered at the rate of 100-150 g per square of lawn, 2-3 days later a good watering. When the moss dries, it weed.
Weeding as a control method can be an effective option on its own, but only at the initial stage of moss plants. When the lawn is large and weeds are plentiful, mechanical thinning becomes laborious.
If none of the methods work to get the moss out, it may be a matter of poor lawn grass selection. The fact is that monoculture lawns are quite finicky about temperature and humidity conditions and soil quality. If site conditions are not ideal, it is difficult for them to compete with wild species. So it makes sense to change the variety of grass, or even to swap a monoculture for a grass mixture. In the latter case, the lawn will certainly not resemble a golf course, but it will look more picturesque.
A healthy lawn is a source of pride to its owners, and the appearance of extraneous plants can cause a lot of trouble. Moss will have a much smaller chance of taking hold if it has been looked after properly: Watered and fed on time and mowed properly.
If the occupation of the lawn has already begun, you must first find out what is causing it. Often moss is an indicator of low pH, and then carry out liming. If it is not the acidity of the soil, more radical measures will help to solve the problem: herbicides and other chemicals.