Ask a Question forum: Moss in planter.

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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
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Brinybay
Jul 10, 2015 5:37 PM CST
I need some planter maintenance 101. A little weed here and there I can tolerate, but I don't like moss. I'm watering these every morning, is it perhaps too moist and that's why moss is appearing? It's in a 6ft cedar planter I got about a month ago.

Thumb of 2015-07-10/Brinybay/82d052

Thumb of 2015-07-10/Brinybay/98c70c

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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Jul 10, 2015 6:23 PM CST
I would think that is too wet; does it have proper drainage?
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Jul 10, 2015 10:12 PM CST
Dutchlady1 said:I would think that is too wet; does it have proper drainage?


It had some holes in the bottom, is that enough?

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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Dutchlady1
Jul 11, 2015 3:48 AM CST
I'd stick your finger in the soil and feel if it doesn't have water standing in it, or if the soil is very soggy. Sometimes drain holes are ok and sometimes not; it also depends on what they are standing on. You could try elevating the container off the ground a bit (place a few stones underneath it) to promote better drainage, and see if that helps.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jul 11, 2015 3:52 AM CST
If you're watering every morning the soil surface is perhaps damp most of the time (it certainly is possible that a container would need frequent watering but watering is better done as needed rather than as a daily routine so make sure you actually do need to water, check the media first - you can do that by pushing your index finger down into it to see if it feels damp).

Added to that the planter appears to be in shade which would also encourage moss. Is it in shade all day?

From the picture, and unless you've added plants, it looks like you have mostly perennials in the planter?

Edit: crossed-posted with Hetty, sorry Hetty!
[Last edited by sooby - Jul 11, 2015 3:53 AM (+)]
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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
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Shadegardener
Jul 11, 2015 7:13 AM CST
Did you use garden soil to fill your planter? If so, that can slow down proper drainage. You could try mixing some perlite in with the soil to create more air pockets.
Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
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plantladylin
Jul 11, 2015 8:11 AM CST
Very pretty planter! I totally agree with what Dutchlady, sooby and Shadegardener have said; moss usually grows in a moist, damp environment so perhaps you are watering too often or the soil is too compacted and needs better drainage.
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Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 11, 2015 9:57 AM CST
Greg, I'd just scuffle up the top of the soil in that planter to discourage the moss. (although it doesn't hurt anything) Be careful not to go too deep to damage the roots of the plants. Maybe spread some fresh, sterile potting mix on top, with some extra Perlite in it for aeration.

Also, the plants in that planter are things that like sun, does the planter get some sun during the day? That should also discourage moss. If you don't want to move it, how about cutting a branch or two above there, to give it more sun? It's a lovely planter, but looks like it would be a beast to move. Maybe just plant something that likes shade instead, that will fill up the spaces. Then either the moss won't grow at all, or at least you won't have to see it.

But commercial potting mix is generally sort of acidic and if it is staying moist all the time, it sure will grow moss.
Elaine

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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Jul 11, 2015 12:03 PM CST
Shadegardener said:Did you use garden soil to fill your planter? If so, that can slow down proper drainage. You could try mixing some perlite in with the soil to create more air pockets.


Yes, I used about 3 bags of general purpose potting soil.

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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
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Shadegardener
Jul 11, 2015 3:59 PM CST
Strange to have potting soil growing moss like that. I would add some more perlite anyway to insure better drainage. Maybe cut back a bit on the watering.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jul 11, 2015 6:02 PM CST
It's the climate up there in the Great Pacific Northwest, Cindy. Moss grows on everything that stands still.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
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Cinta
Jul 11, 2015 8:16 PM CST
Moss needs moisture, shade, acidic soil. It is possible the wood is the issue. The wood or what the wood was treated with maybe leaking the necessary acidic condition to keep the soil PH high.

You can add some lime that will kill the moss but depending on what you have planted it may like the acid soil. Soooo you either may have to learn to like the moss for awhile until the plants are well established and they start to suck up the acid in the soil or plant other plants that like less acid.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Jul 11, 2015 9:04 PM CST
I let that native (? I assume) moss grow wherever it likes. It is soft, green, and helps choke out weeds. When it gets nasty looking (brown and dry), it is easy to just pluck up by the chunks, or rake through to break it up. I'm also becoming more tolerant of the dratted invasive buttercup (Ranunculus repens), often enjoying their cheery bloom comingled with my 'real' plants. Choose battles wisely.
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Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Jul 11, 2015 11:19 PM CST
Bonehead said:I let that native (? I assume) moss grow wherever it likes. It is soft, green, and helps choke out weeds. When it gets nasty looking (brown and dry), it is easy to just pluck up by the chunks, or rake through to break it up. I'm also becoming more tolerant of the dratted invasive buttercup (Ranunculus repens), often enjoying their cheery bloom comingled with my 'real' plants. Choose battles wisely.


That sounds like a very low-maintenance approach, my favorite! I was just concerned if moss was an indication of something icky (pardon the scientific jargon) and/or if it would bother the plants. I'll cut back to watering when needed instead of daily though.

"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jul 12, 2015 5:52 AM CST
Just wondering, you have that planter under a roof overhang. Is it close enough that moisture drips/runs off the roof onto the planter? If so, you're not the only one that's watering it Smiling

Just a side note about moss and soil acidity. Mosses can grow where the pH isn't especially acidic. Moss growing in lawns, which is where the lime vs. moss issue usually relates, implies a number of undesirable growing conditions for the grasses. If the soil is acidic enough that it reduces the grass's competitiveness due to reduced nutrient availability then lime will help the grass grow better - as long as the other problems are also addressed. It doesn't directly kill the moss by itself but helps the grass, and one wouldn't want to apply lime without a soil test to first confirm that the soil really is too acidic. Pushing the pH too high can also have a negative effect on plants.
Name: Greg
Lake Forest Park, Washington (Zone 8b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Brinybay
Jul 12, 2015 9:24 AM CST
sooby said:Just wondering, you have that planter under a roof overhang. Is it close enough that moisture drips/runs off the roof onto the planter? If so, you're not the only one that's watering it Smiling


It's not close enough to catch drip from the shed, plus it has since been moved farther out from the shed to accommodate a trellis I made for the vine.
Thumb of 2015-07-12/Brinybay/069121

"Love the people who treat you right and forget the ones who don't." - Chiune Sugihara
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Jul 12, 2015 12:29 PM CST
Thanks, Elaine - had no idea that potting soil would go "mossy". Smiling I see moss in my shady yard all the time but none in pots. The ground in surrounding area didn't seem that damp to encourage moss but watering the planter every day sure would encourage that. I like Deb's outlook on moss. Both of my GDs would voice their disapproval if I got rid of the moss here.

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