Moss is a nuisance in a lawn and people often want to know how to get rid of it. However, before you control your moss, it’s important to understand why it is present.
Moss loves shade, moisture, and poorly drained or compacted soil. It will tend to creep into areas where grass has weakened and cannot grow. The moss is simply filling a void. Moss does not kill existing grass, it simply grows where grass cannot.
The best long term solution to controlling moss is to correct the shade and moisture problems. Here are a few suggestions to help alleviant these issues:
Trimming trees– This will allow more sunlight to get to the lawn. Grass needs 3-4 hours of direct sunlight or 6-8 hours of filtered sunlight in order to grow. Trimming trees allows more sunlight in and will allow more varieties of grass to grow. Trimming trees also promotes air movement and helps the grass to dry out.
Tree Removal- This is a drastic step, but can make a big impact in growing grass and discouraging moss.
Water Management– To reduce extra water, try “capping” sprinkler heads, changing nozzles, or reducing sprinkler time. Also, be aware of your lawn’s drainage pattern and areas that may be accumulating water.
Mowing Height– Mowing the grass between 3 and 3.5 inches tall is healthiest your the lawn. This allows deep rooting of the grass and the maximum surface area to absorb sunlight.
Aeration- This removes cores of soil and allows air movement, helps drainage, and relieves soil compaction.
Home Solutions to Control Moss
You don’t need to make a trip to your local lawn and garden center to control moss. There are two common household products that will help control moss.
Ultra Dawn or Ivory liquid dish soap- Mix 2 to 4 ounces of dish soap with 1 gallon of water. Spray the mixture with a spray bottle or use a watering can. Apply when the grass is moist.
Baking Soda- A few applications of baking soda will control moss. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda per quart of water and spray on a warm, sunny day. In most cases, one or two applications will provide complete control. Baking Soda also works well to control moss on wood decks and brick patios.
Both of these methods will turn the moss into a yellow / orange color and cause it to dry up. Keep in mind that killing moss is only a temporary solution. If you want to remove moss permanently, you must correct the shady and wet conditions that are causing the moss.