Garden Moss & What to Do About It

If you've discovered garden moss growing on or near your lawn and are worried about what it may mean, don't worry, Taylor Total Weed Control are here to help!

Here in our comprehensive guide to garden moss, you'll learn everything that you need to know when it comes to moss, including why it appears, whether it's good or bad to have around and, of course, how to get rid of it. So, let's take a look.

 

Contents:

 

What is garden moss?

Many species of garden moss exist, with only a few classed as common lawn weeds. Moss are simple plants with thin cell walls that require a moist atmosphere to survive and reproduce. The most ideal environments for these are wet and shady places and are commonly found growing under grasses in lawns. Although moss does not flower and seed, they do produce masses of dust-like spores. These germinate into tiny filaments which eventually turn into the familiar feathery growth that we all know and love (kind of).

These spores are often produced in the autumn and then again in the spring. Mosses that produce spores in the autumn survive into the spring where they spore again, along with the plants from the autumn spores. When the weather turns hot and dry, these plants die out but the spores survive and will grow when the wet autumn rain returns.

 

What causes garden moss?

If you want a healthy-looking lawn, then you need to help the grass to grow healthy and not help the moss. Remember, it's lawn care versus lawn moss. If the conditions in your lawn aren't perfect, which they rarely are, then you may begin to have a moss problem. Without proper intervention, your moss issues may begin to get worse, and in some cases, you may have it so bad that you have all moss and no grass.

There are three main causes of moss in lawns:

  1. Lawn care practices – These include not removing excess thatch or autumn leaves, infrequent grass cutting, scalping the lawn by mowing too close and poor use of fertiliser products.

  2. Environmental factors – These include shady lawns, acidic soil, poor air circulation and heavy dew.

  3. Climatic factors – Ideal conditions for moss growth include a wet climate, excess rainfall and cloudy cool summers.

 

Is moss good or bad?

When it comes to moss, one question that you may ask yourself is whether it's even a good thing to have in your garden or on your lawn. It may come to as a surprise but there are actually several ecological benefits of a moss garden. One of the biggest is that moss can be a lightning bug nursery. Lightening bugs such as fireflies as well as many other insects will live in or under moss such as spiders, ants and worms. These insects provide a valuable food source for several other animals such as birds, reptiles and amphibians.

Moss is also a bioindicator, which means the presence or absence of moss can tell us things about the quality of the air. Garden moss is sensitive to particulate pollution in the air such as carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. The majority of these pollutants come from combustion engines in motor vehicles and some manufacturing industries. If you have moss growing in your garden, you will likely have cleaner air quality than gardens where moss is not found growing.

Additionally, moss can help your soil retain water. By acting like a sponge, the moss will quickly absorb water and slowly release it into the surrounding soil and air. So, as you can see, a moss garden does actually bring a number of different advantages!

 

Problems with garden moss

In terms of the downsides to garden moss, there is only one real issue. When moss dies out during the summertime, it leaves unattractive brown patches, which then begins to accumulate 'thatch' at the base of the grass. This prevents air and water from reaching the grassroots which, of course, has a negative impact on the overall health of your lawn.

 

How to get rid of moss

If like many homeowners, you would like moss to not be a part of your garden and lawn, there are ways that you can get rid of it.

The best time to get rid of moss from your garden is during the spring and autumn months. During the autumn, your lawn is still recovering from the wear and tear of the summer but its health needs to be maintained to help survive the cold frosts of winter. Removing moss at this stage prevents a bigger issue later on. Getting rid of moss in the spring helps to prepare your lawn for the growing season, whilst making it more robust for summer. To help get rid of moss, there are a number of lawn products that you can use, available from any lawn care retailer.

It's important to remember and consider that if you kill the moss in your lawn you could be left with brown and bare looking patches. If so, you will need to re-seed your lawn with lawn seed to bring it back to life. It is imperative that you grow new, healthy grass over these patches to prevent them from being overgrown by moss again.

 

How to prevent moss from re-appearing

Garden moss is caused by a combination of moisture in your lawn and weak grass. Moss requires moisture to spread, so you are more likely to suffer from a moss problem in shady areas or during wetter seasons. By following these steps, you will help prevent moss from appearing in your garden in the future:

  • Feed your lawn once a month to keep your lawn in top condition

  • Thin out over-hanging trees to prevent shade on your lawn

  • Re-seed any bare patches

 

How we can help

Here at Taylor Total Weed Control, we offer professional lawn moss control services that help control, remove and prevent moss from appearing in your garden and on your lawn. If you don't feel confident with dealing with your garden moss problem and would like experts to take over then please free to get in touch with a member of our team today or visit our moss control page to learn more about how we can help!

Moss Control Services >   Contact Us Today >

Caerphilly Castle in South Wales

South Wales is one of the UK's worst-affected areas for Japanese knotweed growth.

That's according to an article published in YourMoney.com, which names South Wales alongside the likes of Bolton, Bristol and London.

These are apparently the places where this invasive species is at its most prolific.

Our Japanese Knotweed Removal Service >

 

Which parts of South Wales have the most Japanese knotweed?

According to a Wales Online article originally published in July 2019, the locations in South Wales with most Japanese knotweed infestations were:

  • Llanelli
  • Caerphilly
  • Swansea

That said, it was Conwy - in North Wales - that topped the Wales Online list in 2019, with a jaw-dropping 395 cases within a radius of just 4 kilometres.

 

What should I do if I find Japanese knotweed on my property?

First of all, make sure it actually is Japanese knotweed. There are several similar-looking plants that may be mistaken for knotweed at a glance - visit our Japanese Knotweed Identification page for advice.

If you do have Japanese knotweed on your property, WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND SEEKING EXPERT ADVICE instead of attempting to get rid of it on your own. Japanese knotweed has a 'rhizome' root system, and a tiny fragment of one root can turn into a whole new plant. (This should give you a pretty good idea how the plant became such a widespread problem in this country.)

Read More: How Do You Get Rid of Japanese Knotweed?

If you are worried about Japanese knotweed, please feel free to get in touch with Taylor Total Weed Control and request a FREE knotweed survey.

Photo from Pixabay

china

Today we take a look at a type of knotweed found not too far from its troublesome cousin Japanese knotweed - Chinese knotweed (Reynoutria multiflora). 

This plant is a flowering species that actually belongs to the buckwheat family! Found predominantly in (you guessed it) mainland China, it looks deceptively like Japanese knotweed in more ways than one. It features:

  • Tall woody stems that could be mistaken for bamboo
  • Broad arrowhead leaves
  • Greenish-white flowers that grow on dense panicles

Sounds a lot like Japanese knotweed right? Well, one thing that this plant produces that we don't see in Japanese knotweed is a fruit. The fruits of the Chinese knotweed plant are small, dry one-seeded fruits that do not open, also known as achenes.

In one of our blogs, we explored the benefits of Japanese knotweed, and it turns out Chinese knotweed has lots of medicinal uses too! In fact, reynoutria multiflora is a very popular perennial used in traditional Chinese medicines. 

The Chinese refer to the plant as he shou wu or fo-ti, and unlike Japanese knotweed in this country which is seen as an unwanted, invasive species, they cultivate it for ornamental purposes and for use in medicines. This type of knotweed grows in abundance, and here's why..

dried chinese knotweed

Medicinal Uses

This wonderful weed is said to restore virility and vitality in those who consume it, working on the reproductive, circulatory and urinary systems as well as the liver. 

The roots and stems boast a wide range of properties that make this weed a one-stop medicine shop! When ingested, they can work as a sedative, a laxative an anti cholesterolemic or as a treatment for menstrual or menopausal problems (to name but a few of its many uses). 

It's even been reported that people who take the rhizomes for a long period of time experiencing a darkening in their hair!

Besides the wide range of internal uses, Chinese knotweed can also be applied externally to treat conditions like ringworm, and its antibacterial properties mean it can even be used to clean open wounds and sores. You can read more about the medicinal uses of Chinese knotweed here.

So it's fair to say that Chinese knotweed is somewhat more respected and cherished in the community that its Japanese cousin! With that in mind, if you do happen to see Japanese knotweed encroaching on your property, request a free survey and we'll help you get it under control.

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excavated soil

Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant species that's notoriously hard to control and treat. There are lots of different methods you can use to stop the spread of knotweed, but homeowners and gardeners are always on the lookout for new, effective methods to try.

One of the main hurdles faced when treating Japanese knotweed is making sure that the plant visible above ground and the roots and shoots underground are completely destroyed. After all, this is the only way you can prevent the knotweed problem from coming back in the future. A lot of the time, knotweed technicians remove excavated land knowing full well that remanence of the invasive weed could cause a problem later down the line, but there are very few ways of effectively killing the entire plant.

Researchers are trailing a soil treatment that uses high temperatures to eradicate the plant roots before the excavated soil is taken away from the site. It makes perfect sense when you think about it, plants require optimal temperature conditions if they’re going to thrive. Put them in an environment that’s too cold or too hot and they won’t be able to grow or develop at their usual rate.

Testing the effectiveness of heat on knotweed

The study carried out by two researchers; Van Gelder Aannemingsmaatschappij and Van den Herik Zuigtechniek involved soil from six known knotweed infestations being strained and treated using revolutionary mobile heating apparatus.

After the soil was heated, the researchers studied it for seven weeks to monitor whether any knotweed would grow from it or not. The results showed that straining and heating the soil reduced the number of vital fragments by an impressive 99%!

This is a soil treatment that is not yet being used in mainstream knotweed treatment but could really help to reduce the spread of knotweed from excavated soil in the future. Researchers indicated that this method would need to be combined with a suitable aftercare plan to make sure that no surviving shoots would cause problems later down the line – something that would need to be considered carefully before technicians tried this method.

If you have a Japanese knotweed problem that needs treating – take a look at the different treatment methods we offer. Alongside excavation and removal programs we also offer herbicide application programs to rid your property of this invasive weed for good!

Japanese knotweed plant

Japanese knotweed is known for causing havoc in gardens across England and Wales. This aggressive invasive species spreads fast and can cause structural damage to homes and buildings. Its presence may even decrease the value of your home or discourage mortgage companies from lending to you, so it is vital that you tackle the issue properly.

 

What is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese knotweed is a strong and fast-spreading perennial plant. While not native to the UK, it can be found in numerous locations throughout the country. It spreads quickly due to its aggressive rhizome root system - these rhizomes can grow up to 4 metres deep, meaning they require treatment and disposal by specialist teams to remove the plant.

Japanese knotweed can look very similar to other decorative plants, so be sure to read our Japanese knotweed identification guide and learn what to look out for in your garden.

 

Who is responsible for removing Japanese knotweed?

In England and Wales, it is a criminal offence to encourage the growth of Japanese knotweed or allow it to spread. Clearing the weeds as soon as possible is key if you don't want to damage to your property or run into legal trouble.

If Japanese knotweed is on your property, it is your responsibility to organise its removal. The plant can be cleared via excavation or through a herbicide treatment. It is strongly recommended that you arrange this with a professional, qualified specialist, as there are many regulations governing how to dispose of Japanese knotweed.

If there is Japanese knotweed in a neighbour's garden, you should discuss this with them if possible. It is not a crime to have Japanese knotweed on your property; however, if the knotweed spreads to your land, you may be able to take legal action against your neighbour for creating a nuisance.

In 2014, a law was introduced allowing local governments to penalise people for not taking adequate steps to eradicate Japanese knotweed. Talk to your local council's environmental team, who will have the authority to encourage your neighbour to address the problem if necessary.

Read More: What to Do If Your Neighbour Has Japanese Knotweed

 

I'm renting a property - is it my landlord's responsibility to get rid of Japanese knotweed?

Check your contract to see whether you are responsible for the removal of Japanese knotweed. Some landlords may put clauses into contracts that agree the tenant is responsible for removing invasive plant species. They may assist you with the task due to the aggressive nature of the plant and the potential damage their property.

Once you have figured out who needs to clear the weed, it is time to act. Taylor Total Weed Control's treatment options start from £750 (plus VAT), making tackling this problem easy and affordable compared to other weed removal specialists. Our team of technicians will be able to assess the extent of the damage and best advise you on how to address the issue with a free survey.

Call us today on 029 2039 7554 to arrange a free weed removal consultation, or get in touch for more help and advice on clearing Japanese knotweed.

Request a Free Japanese Knotweed Survey >

Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant that can cause some serious damage to your garden and property if it goes undetected!to make sure that you don't have a Japanese knotweed problem, you should check your garden regularly. Japanese knotweed starts to make its presence known during the spring months, so this is a particularly important time for you to survey your garden.

We have a whole page that will help you Identify Japanese Knotweed in your garden, but if you suspect you have Japanese knotweed, here are a few things to look out for! 

Spotting Knotweed in the Garden

When knotweed emerges in the spring, it looks like reddish-purple shoots (the thickness of asparagus). Often, as the stems develop they begin to take on a more dense, hollow appearance like bamboo. As you look along the length of the zig-zag stem you will see the iconic love-heart shaped leaves. During the warmer periods you might even see some pretty little white flowers, but don't be fooled! they're not a pretty garden feature to be enjoyed! You can see close up images of all these knotweed features over on our identification page.

There are a handful of plants that are often mistaken for Japanese knotweed, so this is worth bearing in mind too as you determine whether or not you have Japanese knotweed. 

  • Bindweed
  • Russian Vine
  • Bamboo
  • Broadleaf Dock

are all knotweed impersonators, so keep your eyes peeled for these as you survey your garden.

Spotting Knotweed Damage

Knotweed is a quick-growing plant and can grow up to 10cm in a single day! It's capable of causing damage to buildings and structures as it targets weak points and forces its way into foundations and up drainpipes. Within a matter of weeks, it can ravage a garden, rip its way through a brick wall or destroy a wooden fence. It usually has a vast network of underground rhizomes that shoot off smaller plants all over your garden, so if you suspect you have knotweed, it's likely it will pop up in more places than one!

What to do if you think you have knotweed?

So, if you think you've spotted this ravenous Japanese plant in your garden, don't hesitate to give us a call! We specialise in identifying, treating and eradicating Japanese knotweed. 

If you think that a neighbour has Japanese knotweed that might encroach on your property and cause damage, then we can also aid you through your legal case. We offer a professional expert witness service that will help protect you and your home in the worst-case scenario. 

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knotweed sniffer dog

We all know that dogs are capable of some remarkable things, they can lead the blind, aid police officers and provide therapy for sick patients. Well, the talents of the canine don't stop there! Did you know they can also detect Japanese knotweed?

A Start-Up Company in Ireland

Helga Heylen founded her start-up company back in 2018 and has been training dogs to detect Japanese knotweed with incredible accuracy. Heylen claims that one of her sniffer dogs is able to detect the Japanese knotweed rhizomes even if they haven't broken the surface of the soil yet!

Using their powerful noses, the dogs are able to identify the exact location of a developing knotweed problem. Heylen currently has three knotweed detecting dogs working for her, one is a purebred labrador and the others are labrador-beagle crosses. 

These amazing sniffer dogs can really transform the way that Japanese knotweed is detected and treated. Rhizomes as small as a fingernail can be laid dormant under the soil for a number of years before developing into a fully-fledged knotweed nightmare! If dogs can help commercial property developers, home and business owners to quickly find and treat the problem, it could prevent a huge amount of structural damage later down the line. 

How Do These Dogs Work?

Unlike humans, dogs don't need to be able to see the knotweed to know it's there! They have a keen sense of smell that can identify rhizomes several metres under the ground. They can quickly move through over-grown terrain and don't need bright lights to work. This means they can quickly survey abandoned areas of land that humans simply couldn't access on foot. 

Doggy Danger

While these dogs might sound like miracle workers to those of you with a knotweed problem, there are some people who do not feel so positively about them. While working in Belgium, one of Heylen's dogs was given poisoned food after it detected knotweed at the site of an upcoming commercial development. The discovery of the knotweed by the talented pooch delayed the development project, which was a source of frustration for investors. 

Since then, security for the dogs has been tightened to make sure nothing like this happens again. They sleep under security cameras and are kept indoors near to the handlers. Hopefully, they can continue to carry out their work unharmed from now on! Heylen said: "You know it's a good thing when it excites like-minded people, which is certainly the majority and really scares others".

If you think you could have a Japanese knotweed problem on your hands, we can't provide sniffer dogs, but we can provide a FREE expert survey and Japanese knotweed treatment plan.

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