Moss causes and prevention
If you would like to have a decent lawn then you are going to have to give your grass some help with the battle against the impending moss attack.
If conditions in your lawn are anything less than perfect and let’s be honest they rarely are, then you may find yourself faced with a moss problem. In the right conditions the natural balance of your garden will turn away from grass and start to go towards moss and if you don’t intervene the problem will grow worse and even possibly to the stage were your lawn is more moss than grass, or even all moss and no grass at all.
Below are the causes of and how to prevent moss, so you can avoid and stop it coming to that.
The main causes of moss
Poor growing conditions for grass will favour the growth of moss in your lawn.
This can be down to:
- Infrequent grass cutting
- Sparse grass cover
- Scalping the lawn by mowing too close
- Scalping high points because of a bumpy lawn
- Worn areas of turf, especially along walkways and areas where children play
- Not repairing damage from heavy use
- Shady areas, particularly beneath trees
- Not aerating heavily used or compacted areas
- Wet weather and waterlogged conditions
- Grass stressed by drought
- Poor or inadequate use of fertiliser products
- Infertile soil or impoverished lawns
- Poorly prepared or maintained lawns
- Acidic soil conditions
- Not removing leaves in autumn
- Not removing excess thatch
How to prevent moss
The best way to prevent moss from forming or returning to your lawn is to promote strong grass growth by feeding well and doing regular maintenance of your lawn, particularly giving attention to the following:
- If seeding or laying a lawn that is in a shaded area, find a grass seed mix or turf that has been specified for use in shady areas. Alternatively reducing the amount of shade to that area will also be of benefit.
- For any compacted area of your lawn, use a garden fork to penetrate the lawn or a mechanical slitter if you have a fairly large lawn to aerate the turf.
- On heavy soils, take out small plugs of soil in autumn every 3-4 years, using a manual or mechanical hollow tiner to do so, afterwards brush in a mixture of 6 parts sharp sand, 3 parts loam (a soil with roughly equal proportions of sand, silt, and clay) and 1 part peat substitute by volume.
- For very acidic soils apply garden lime at no more than 50g per square metre to reduce acidity.
- Avoid mowing grass too short
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