Moss – lawn weed causes and treatments
Moss is a moisture loving plant and can quickly overtake a lawn
and form its own ‘lawn carpet’ which can smother the
grass and weaken the lawns vigour.
Causes of Moss on lawns
Moss is symptomatic of wet, poorly drained soils. Grass can also
be quickly invaded by moss where areas of lawn are shaded.
Another cause of moss on lawns is when the lawn mower blades are
set to low and the grass is scalped. If the grass is cut too short
it loses its vigour and its growth is severely inhibited. In these
conditions moss will quickly take advantage and establish itself
in the lawn.
How to get rid of moss.
Many lawn treatments such as weed and feed contain ‘moss
killer’ that contains chemicals that will selectively kill
moss off. Once the moss is dead it can be raked out of lawn and
disposed of. Care must be taken when using a moss killer as when
the dead moss is removed it can leave large bare patches of lawn
that are prone to infestation from other weeds. These bare areas
should be quickly attended to by seeding or returfing.
Although moss killers may temporarily rid your lawn of moss, the
moss will continue to recolonise the lawn until the underlying causes
of the conditions that suit moss are identified and rectified.
To treat these underlying causes we must employ lawn care methods
that will also benefit our lawn in many other ways as well as prevention
of moss infestation. Moss will find it harder to establish where
the grass is thick and strong. These lawn care techniques include
- Aerating the lawn to help reduce soil compaction, improve soil
drainage and improve grass root development
- Identify drainage problems and if necessary install appropriate
- Identify trees and other objects that cause areas of the lawn
to be shaded and either move / remove them to a more suitable
area or rethink the design of the lawn.
- Mow the lawn at the correct height so that it retains a strong
- Prevent that build up and remove existing layers of thatch using
If you rectify the problems of soil drainage compaction and shade
then there should not be any need for moss killer as the moss will
not survive in the revised conditions. Hopefully by looking at treatment
of lawn moss you can see many lawn care techniques have an impact
on a number of lawn quality factors and that like most lawn problems,
prevention is better than the cure.