Problem solving and advice from our lawn care experts
Last Updated: 15/08/2023
Moss is the most common and troublesome problem that we deal with. Mosses can establish in almost any terrestrial environment where moisture is available, and while moisture remains available, growth can continue excessively.
There are around 30 species of moss that can appear in turf, which are a combination of both cushion mat-forming mosses, and trailing mosses.
Moss Growth Periods
There are normally 2 major growth periods for moss during the year. These are spring and autumn, when spores are produced, before later dying. For some lawns, moss can be a continuous problem, particularly if heavy rainfall is continuously occurring.
The Causes of Moss in Lawns
There are several conditions that can cause the growth of moss on your lawn, such as diseased, weak or sparse turf, low fertility, spongy swards and compaction. Some of the more common environmental impacts include:
Here in the UK we have no shortage of rain, and it’s a sad fact that lawn grass does not tend to thrive in wet soil. When that soil becomes too waterlogged, the conditions favour moss over grass, and this can quickly become a problem.
The lack of sunlight will mean that soil stays damper for longer and the grass does not receive as much light as it needs. The damp soil, combined with poor drainage can lead to conditions that allow moss to excel.
Turf grass typically needs soil deeper than 4-5 inches. Without this, the grass will struggle to gain the nutrients it requires, making it weaker. The weaker the grass is, the harder it will be to stop moss establishing.
Mowing the lawn too short
This is an all too common mistake, because whilst in the short term it makes your lawn look great, in the long term you are actually weakening the grass, which will allow moss to take over.
Turf grass generally does not fare so well in acidic soil, whereas moss will often establish easier when the soil is acidic.
How to get rid of moss in your lawn
If a lawn is infested with moss, it needs to be treated before other applications will work properly. Because moss is such a common problem, when we provide a quotation and lawn analysis, the first treatment that we usually recommend is a moss killer application, as untreated lawns are most likely to be infested with it.
Our standard treatment programme includes seasonal moss control applications, ensuring that the build-up of moss in your lawn remains minimal all year round.
Aeration is one of the single most important procedures you can carry out on grass, and an essential process to help reduce moss levels. It prunes roots off, opens up oxygen pathways and removes small thatch plugs from a lawn, resulting in reduced moss levels.
Aeration services are carried out during winter as part of our standard treatment programme.
This is the process of removing thatch and organic matter from lawns using a professional scarifier machine, which allows water and nutrients to be absorbed much more easily. Scarification also loosens moss to the surface, reducing moss build-up.
Scarification services are carried out during spring and autumn, as the lawn will recover much more quickly when it starts to grow.
Adam is a qualified turf professional with over 15 years of experience. Before joining Lawn Master, Adam worked as Deputy Head Greenkeeper at Malton & Norton Golf Club. Adam is based in Malton and offers lawn care services in North Yorkshire.