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HOW TO ADDRESS
MOSS IN THE LAWN
Lawn care can be a labor of love. Maintaining a pristine
lawn is no small task, but it’s one that many homeowners
proudly take on, knowing that all the hard work and
time spent outside on sunny summer afternoons is well worth
the sweat equity.
After putting in so much effort to create a lush, green lawn,
it’s understandable if homeowners react with disbelief when
something threatens the health of their turf. Moss is one such
threat. Recognizing the threat moss poses is the fi rst step to
corralling it before it overtakes a lawn.
Moss can be especially menacing because its green appearance
allows it to blend in with grass rather easily. As moss spreads,
it becomes more noticeable. According to the turf care experts
at Scotts®, moss is a plant with shallow roots that spreads by
spores and root-like structures called rhizoids. Moss is opportunistic,
and it will grow where turfgrass is thin and weak.
However, moss does not kill the grass. Rather, the conditions
that promote the growth of moss can kill the grass. Such conditions
may include compacted soil or excessive thatch, acidic
or infertile soil, excessive shade, and insuffi cient or excessive
How can moss be controlled?
Penn State Extension notes that the fi rst step to controlling
moss is to test the soil. Soil test kits are inexpensive and available
at most home renovation stores. Test results will reveal if
the soil is lacking nutrients or if lime needs to be applied and
when to apply it. Such a report also will indicate when to fertilize
the lawn, which can help restore the turfgrass so it’s more
capable of competing with the moss.
If the underlying cause of moss is shade and/or moisture in
the yard, homeowners can speak with landscaping professionals
to discuss their options. Replacing existing turf with one
that is well-suited to shade and/or moisture may prevent mold
from overtaking the lawn in the future. Penn State Extension
notes that some turfgrasses may be best-adapted to shaded,
well-drained soils, while others may be more likely to thrive in
shaded, moist soils. A local landscaping professional can help
homeowners fi nd a turf that will not only thrive in the conditions
in their yards, but also in their local climates.
Moss can quickly take advantage of conditions that make it
diffi cult for turfgrass to grow. Homeowners who recognize that
moss is overtaking their lawn can address it in various ways.
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