Great Lawns Made Simple: How To Remove Moss

Learn how to remove moss from your garden lawn by scarifying with our Great Lawns Made Simple series.

Moss is very common in garden lawns as it likes damp conditions and thrives in shady areas. Unfortunately, it can block water and choke grass. Moss can usually be found along fences and under trees.

The underlying reason for moss taking hold is poor drainage, poor or compacted soil or grass in poor condition. This can be a continuous problem if not addressed as moss spreads by spores and quickly takes hold again. Moss lawns feel spongy to walk on and if you look at the base of the grass you will see leafy green stems or fronds woven around the grass blades. To get rid of moss you can either remove by manual means or with chemical moss killer.

If you only have a small patch you can use a spring tine rake (not a soil rake) to pull the moss out. This is known as scarification. Rake in crosswise directions to get as much as you can, but lightly as grass can be damaged by over scarifying. If you have a large area to deal with you can use a scarifier machine.

The best way to tackle a mossy lawn is to apply a moss killer. When the moss is dead you then need to rake it out. Then you can assess if you need to overseed the lawn. Remember – to keep it in check, it is wise to address the reasons why the moss is growing so well.

If the soil is compacted and waterlogged it will need spiking or aerated. Try not to cut grass so short that it lets water flood and sit on the surface – a perfect moss breeding ground. Also look and see if hanging branches from trees are blocking light, grass surfaces dry out with the sun and wind so if you let more light in, moss will be less likely to thrive. Lastly, if you have a shady garden always choose a good shade tolerant grass seed.

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