moss growth under plants - Knowledgebase Question

san francisco, Ca
Avatar for aldrindeepak
Question by aldrindeepak
August 10, 2009
I have seen lately moss growing on the soil under my rose plants, and ON the plants that are planted in the lawn, i dont know if it is moss, it is green and moss looking, what could be the reason? is it harmful the plants?

Answer from NGA
August 10, 2009
Moss is a symptom of several things: too much shade, poor drainage, compacted soil, acidic soil. If you can address each of these causes, you can eliminate moss from your flower beds and lawn. Start by raking the moss out of the beds. This will help roughen up the soil and keep new moss from growing. You can also spread some compost over the top of the soil and work it into the top few inches of soil to help it drain faster. If you have a lot of shade, try limbing up nearby trees or thinning out the canopies might supply more sunlight to the area. Poor drainage is usually caused by clay soils or those that are compacted due to heavy foot traffic. Amending clay soils (to a depth of 4-5") and aerating every few years will give your soil a better opportunity to drain well. As for your lawn, aeration can be done with a machine you can rent at most garden centers. The machine pulls 1/2" by 3" plugs out of the ground. You can leave the plugs where they lay and they will break down over a period of several weeks. After plugging you can sprinkle sand on the lawn. The sand will work its way down into the holes left from the plugs and will help improve the drainage and compaction problem. Acidic soils can promote the growth of moss so you might want to have your soil tested. If it is 6.0 or below you can spread lime over your lawn in the fall. It will break down over the winter months and help sweeten the soil. There are moss killers on the market but you'll find that the moss will turn black when its killed and you'll need to rake it out anyway, so I always suggest foregoing the moss killers and simply raking the moss out. After raking you can aerate the lawn as above and then reseed the bare areas. This fall you can address the problem with acidity by spreading lime. Best wishes with your lawn and flower beds!

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