The Q&A Archives: Moss in the Lawn

Question: I live in the Pacific Northwest and as a result have a great deal of moss in my lawn. My question is: Should I treat the lawn with a moss killer and then use a dethatcher, or should I skip the moss and go directly to using a dethatching maching? After I get the moss out of the lawn, what is the best way to prevent it from coming back?

Answer: Moss thrives when conditions favor its growth. Too much shade, compacted soil, poor fertility, poor drainage, and low pH all contribute to moss in lawns. If you can correct all (or most) of these problems, you'll have less moss in the lawn. I'd skip the moss killer. It will kill the moss, but you'll need to change conditions or it will come right back.

Go ahead and dethatch, then rake up all the dead stolons along with the moss. Reseed any bare areas. Then put your lawn on a regular feeding schedule, mow frequently, and water as needed. These steps will help the grass grow lush and thick enough to crowd out any moss. Washington State University recommends fertilizing in April, June, September, and the first week of December with a 3-1-2 ratio of complete fertilizer (21-7-14 is a good choice).

You may want to have the soil tested because it is likely your soil pH is too low. If that proves true, you'll be advised to add lime. Fall is the best time add lime, but anytime is okay.

Following the above guidelines for a healthy lawn should greatly reduce the amount of moss you find in your yard.

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