If you notice soft, spongy green patches on your lawn, chances are moss is growing in your yard. So why is moss growing instead of grass and how to get rid of moss in lawns before it completely takes over? The good news is that the moss is not taking over your lawn like a weed, killing off all plants in your flower garden.
The moss is merely trying to fill in bare spots where the grass isn’t growing well due to poor soil conditions or other underlying issues. The bad news is that you now need to know how to kill moss in lawn areas to allow grass to grow there again. Knowing what kills moss is only part of the solution, and you will need to establish a new lawn care routine to restore healthy grass as quickly as possible.
Without developing this new grass growth by improving your lawn, you won’t be able to get rid of moss completely. Luckily for you, these helpful tips offer all the help you need for getting rid of moss in the grass and restoring your lawn to its former glory.
How to Kill Moss in Lawn Areas for Good
While your first instincts may be to kill the moss first, you want to start with fixing those problems that make it easy for moss to grow. By doing this, you prevent new moss growth while also preparing a healthy lawn with the perfect growing conditions for fresh, green grass.
Some of the suggestions we list here can also be used for getting rid of clover in your lawn, as well as other weedy pests.
1. Test Soil pH Levels
One reason moss grows in yards is due to a low pH level in your soil. Most lawns require a soil pH of around 6 to grow grass properly, so anything below that would be prime conditions for growing moss.
To ensure this is the case in your lawn, perform a soil test, and check the precise pH levels for your soil. If you’ve determined you need to raise the acidic levels in your land, then adding lime is your next step.
Depending on your lawn and the size of the area covered in moss, choose the best lime additive based on those distinctions. For smaller areas, pulverized lime works well since finely ground particles quickly absorb into the soil. These same particles may clog a spreader, however, so this option is not ideal for large lawns with too many square feet to cover manually.
In these cases, use something like granular lime or pellets. Only use hydrated lime on highly acidic soil that needs a quick boost since this releases a more significant amount of acid into the ground much faster than the other options.
2. How to Kill Moss in Lawn by Increasing Soil Fertility
Another important aspect of your lawn to test is the nutrients in the soil. Fertilizing the earth is just as important as maintaining the pH levels and also makes a massive difference in precisely what is turning your green lawn green. A different test will tell you what nutrients your soil still needs to perform at its best.
Once you’ve selected the right lawn fertilizer for your grass, ensure you begin fertilizing your lawn at the appropriate time each year. This time is usually in early spring, though it varies by region and types of grass. Doing this will prevent issues in the future, once you’ve healed those small patches of missing grass first.
3. Reduce Moisture in the Soil
One way to limit the excellent growing conditions for moss is to reduce the amount of moisture in the soil. Poor drainage is one of the most troublesome issues your lawn faces when combating unruly moss growth. If your soil isn’t draining correctly, then the water sits at the top of the ground.
This occurrence is excellent for the moss, but not so great for your grass. While implementing irrigation techniques will undoubtedly help your drainage problems, another simple solution is to stop overwatering your lawn. Many homeowners use a sprinkler system that waters their lawn daily, whether the lawn needs it or not.
This practice is discouraged, especially when you begin to see moss popping up in your yard. Instead, check for signs that your lawn needs watering before you start your sprinklers. Doing this will prevent the water from just sitting there in the soil, damaging the lawn, and opening up opportunities for moss to grow.
4. How to Get Rid of Moss in Lawns Using an Aerator
A second reason behind your poor drainage issue may be the soil compaction in your lawn. What this means is soil is so tightly packed that air, moisture, and nutrients are unable to flow through the ground properly. The best way to resolve the issue, in this case, is to use aeration to improve your soil and control moss.
This process involves poking strategic holes in the soil to allow your lawn to breathe easy once again. Not only does aerating allow for the flow of air and nutrients to move from one part of the yard to the next, but it also provides proper irrigation and limits excess moisture in the soil.
5. Improve Shade Conditions for Moss Control
Another major contributor to why patches of moss grow instead of grass is shade. While moss grows well in shady areas, most lawns need several hours of sunlight to thrive. If there is too much shade, say under a large tree or beside a building, grass won’t survive using the same treatment as other parts of your lawn.
These conditions leave plenty of room for lawn moss to flourish, however. So, how to get rid of moss in shaded areas? One way is by pruning back the branches on any large trees that may be preventing your grass from growing in that area. If this doesn’t work or isn’t possible, then try adapting your mowing techniques.
Instead of trimming your yard at one even height, raise the mower blades by approximately one inch to allow the grass in shaded areas to remain a little taller. This extra length enables them to cover more surface area while also giving them a greater reach to absorb sunlight.
6. Plant More Shade-Tolerant Grasses
If providing your grass seed with more light isn’t in the cards for you, you can also try planting shade-tolerant grass instead. These grasses only need about four hours of sunlight to survive, which includes any sun-dappled rays they may receive. Depending on the region you live in, grow grass that adheres to the best climate and temperatures in your area.
For a cool-season grass that does well in the shade, tall fescue is your wisest option. On the other side of the spectrum, a lovely warm-season grass perfect for shady spots is St. Augustine. By using these types of grasses, you limit those empty spots from appearing and keep moss out of your lawn.
7. Kill Moss Using Dish Soap
Now that you’ve handled your lawn issues, you’re ready to move onto where you kill moss in grass for good. One natural, non-toxic solution available is dish soap and vinegar. While small patches are easily eradicated using a spray bottle, larger areas may require a lawn sprayer to distribute the formula. You can also add a little baking soda to kill weeds and moss if they are growing where you don’t want them to.
After applying this recipe to mossy areas, allow up to 24 hours for the solution to work. Once one full day has passed, you should notice the moss starts to turn orange or brown.
Clear away the dead moss by raking it away from the surface and discarding the loose pieces. This process is known as dethatching and works best by hand when using a metal tine rake.
Use soap, water, and vinegar as a simple deck cleaner, too, to get rid of dirt and stains before applying sealant or more stain. Not only does this mixture work for getting rid of moss in the lawn, but it is also effective to remove mold and moss from your deck surfaces.
8. What Kills Moss Quickly?
If you want to use a heavy-duty weedkiller to eliminate moss, using moss control products like iron sulfate, also known as ferrous sulfate, is your best course of action. This moss killer for lawns can easily be made at home and works best when applied in early spring or winter. It’s safe to use on the lawn and won’t kill your grass when diluted enough.
After adding the appropriate measurements, administer the solution over the unwanted patches to kill moss. Depending on how large the yard area is, you can either use a watering can or a lawn sprayer to distribute the formula.
After a few days, you will notice the moss changing colors. Similar to using dish soap to get rid of moss, rake up the moss until all pieces detach from your lawn.
While iron sulfate works well on grass to get rid of moss, if you need to clean an exterior brick wall that has moss on it, bleach is your best bet. Mix water and bleach and add to a power washer to eliminate moss on the wall.
Additional Helpful Tips for Getting Rid of Moss
Still unsure what tools to use or why you should even get started on this moss-removal journey? These helpful tips should answer any other questions you may have about how to get rid of moss in lawns.
What equipment should I have available when removing moss from my lawn?
Removing moss from your lawn revolves more around bringing the growing conditions for your grass up to muster than it does around removing the moss itself. As a result, it’s essential to have the right equipment handy when improving the quality of your lawn. Below are some tools you will want to keep on hand when performing these tasks.
Many of these supplies are staples when it comes to maintaining a healthy lawn. While you may not need to use each one every time, they are exceptional tools to have in your lawn care arsenal.
Why is it essential to get rid of moss?
While many homeowners love the appearance of moss, having these spiny patches denotes an underlying problem that should be dealt with accordingly. Moss is not invasive and won’t harm your lawn. Some gardeners even use mossy patches as ground cover and as unique touches in their garden.
However, if your lawn requires extra love and care, address these to maintain a healthy lawn. In other words, view moss more like a warning sign than a weed. Its appearance means something is not right in your yard and needs taking care of quickly.
You’re on your way to improving your lawn and kicking moss to the curb for good. Now that you know the leading causes behind moss and how to improve the state of your green grass, you are capable of getting rid of moss in grass to prevent future issues from occurring in the future.
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