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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.




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!

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