Moss - Knowledgebase Question

westwood, Ma
Question by greekanto
May 8, 2010
I have moss growing in my garden area which I have never had before. I have found using baking soda on the lawn works. Can this also work for the garden area? If so, can I make a spray using baking soda and water. Will baking soda harm the soil? Thanks for info. Also can this spray be used on lawn as well. Don't like using pesticides on the lawn with animals around.

Answer from NGA
May 8, 2010


What the soda is doing is changing the soil's pH, but only on the surface. However, it won't last very long and you'll need to constantly reapply the baking soda. Eventually you'll upset the natural pH of your soil. It's better to improve the underlying causes to control the moss.

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 lawn. If you have a lot of shade, grass won't grow well (except when first sodded) and will become thin and more vulnerable to weeds and moss. 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 lawn a better opportunity to drain well. 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 it?s 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 landscape.

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