The Q&A Archives: Moss on Lawn

Question: I am rotilling a complete lawn and reseeding it. Some areas have heavy moss which I have tilled up. Do I need to rake all the moss up or can I seed with the moss left there?

Answer: I advise you to listen to what the moss is telling you. Mosses are "pioneer plants" that inhabit places other plants can't grow, and so usually indicate poor soil conditions (extremes of soil pH, compaction, poor drainage, etc.). Before seeding, have the soil tested so you can correct any nutrient/pH imbalances and ensure that your lawn-starting efforts will be fruitful (or grassful, in this case!). Your agricultural extension office (ph# 617/293-3541) can help you with a soil test. Rake out the moss before seeding, just to keep the soil surface open for the grass to take hold. If you leave the moss there, the grass may come up patchy where the moss stands between seed and soil. Good luck!

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