The Q&A Archives: Moss

Question: I have a problem with moss in my lawn that prohibits grass growth. I tried moss control but I still have the problem.

Answer: Moss is a symptom of a number of underlying causes. While you can kill moss with chemicals, it will just come back unless you correct the problems leading to its growth. Moss thrives in areas where the soil is compacted, there's poor fertility, too much shade and poor drainage. You can help your lawn grow thick and lush by fertilizing regularly, mowing frequently and watering in the spring and summer months to keep it lush and thick. If there's a lot of shade, be sure to choose a grass seed that will thrive under shady conditions. If you can correct the drainage and aerate the lawn to help improve compaction, so much the better. At this point, rake to remove the moss and then reseed with a grass type that grows well in your area. Then put your lawn on a regular feeding schedule, applying one pound of Nitrogen per 1000 square feet, divided into four applications. Feed in April, June, September and November using a complete fertilizer with a ratio of 3-1-2 (NPK). When you water, make sure the lawn gets about one inch per week. You can measure how much water your sprinkler puts out by placing several tuna or cat food cans on the lawn, turning on the sprinkler for 15 minutes and then checking the level of water in the can. If there's less than an inch, turn the sprinkler on for another 15 minutes. Once you figure out how long it takes to provide a full inch of water, you'll know how long to leave the sprinkler on each week to provide enough water. If the water begins to run down the sidewalk or into the street before you've applied an inch to the lawn, you may have to turn the sprinkler off for a half hour to allow the water to penetrate the soil, then turn it on again to complete the time it takes to supply the proper amount of water. Keep your lawn mowed regularly to avoid scalping it and making the plants weak. Following the above guidelines should get you on your way to an emerald green lawn.

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