Moss can be a major problem in Metro Vancouver lawns and gardens. However, dealing with moss is actually much easier that you think. In this short article, we'll give you the background on moss and what you can do about it.
Moss spores and plants happily coexist in your garden with your lawn and other plants. The challenge is what to do when the moss overtakes the rest of your landscape. The key is to understand what moss needs to thrive:
Moss is a shade loving plant. It is happiest in the cool, sheltered areas of your garden. Under trees, in areas protected by foliage or man-made objects. You reduce the likelyhood of moss growth by making the area sunnier and brighter. Perhaps a few large tree limbs could be pruned out to increase the amount of light?
Moss needs moist or wet soils. It does not grow well in areas that are dry. If your garden is moist, try and improve the drainage in the area. Perhaps new drainage pipes or pits could be installed?. Perhaps fill could be brought in to raise the land? Or you could add a soil-sand combo to your lawn to improve drainage. Our turf blend soil is a great option for this.
Moss needs an acidic soil to grow. Areas that receive high rainfall, like Metro Vancouver, generally have more acidic soils. Hence, our common moss problems. One way to remove moss is to raise the pH of your soil. In other words, make it less acidic. This can be accomplished by applying Lime. Avoid applying Lime and lawn fertilizer at the same time. Leave a week or two between the two processes.
Take Remedial Action
In some cases, your moss problem may be so large that remedial action is required. Various chemical products are available on the market to kill and remove moss. However, due to government legislation, many 'weed n feed' type products are no longer available for purchase.
The best way to knock down moss using chemicals is to use products containing Ferrous Sulphate. After an application, keep the lawn dry for 1-2 days and then water thoroughly. After about a week, the moss should start turning black. At this time, rake or de-thatch your lawn. Re-seed or sod bare patches to prevent weed establishment of the return of moss.
Improve Your Lawn
Like weeds, moss is opportunistic. It takes hold in areas where the grass is weak. Take care of your lawn by applying a spring and fall fertilizer. Overseed occasionally. Remove weeds and re-sod bare patches.
Waterly deeply, once or twice a week during the summer. This forces the grass roots to chase after the deeper water - thereby creating stronger roots.
If your lawn has a heavy thatch layer ( an area of dead grass that has not decomposed), aerate and rake out the dead material. A sure sign of thatch is when the area feels springy or spongy when stepped on.
The final lawn care tip is to not mow too low. Set your lawn more to a slightly higher setting. This will help you maintain a healthy green lawn.
The bottom line, a healthy lawn does not allow moss to become established.
If you have additional questions about lawn care or moss removal, please feel free to give us a call at 604.882.1201 or visit Art's Nursery in person.