My lawn is turning into all moss.

catherinet(5 IN)March 27, 2005

Hi all,

We live back in the woods (zone 5). The lawn area around our house is pretty open, but has a few trees. The moss started growing in the heavily shaded areas a long time ago. But now, it's almost everywhere in the yard.......even replacing grass in the sunny areas. Is moss something I should be happy about? I thought moss mostly grew in shade. We've had an incredibly wet year.......maybe that's what's going on? Maybe it will disappear when the sun finally returns?? Thanks.

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bogturtle(SE NJ 7a)

The same thing happened to me. I thought about spiking it to let air in and liming it to raise the pH, since grass is supposed to appreciate lime and moss does not. Violets had invaded and the japanese painted fern had sent a few spores there. I thought about it and never did a thing. A bulldozer destroyed it all as we put in an addition. Not much help to you, I am sure. That part of the lawn that is now totalled will be a place for low groundcovers and the bird feeding station. No more lawn.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 8:32AM
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potterhead2(z5b NY)

My experience has been that low pH is the main reason lawns turn to moss. Many types of leaves are acidic (especially oak) and that combined with the acidic rain we receive in the east can really lower soil pH. If you haven't limed in a while you may have low pH. Take a sample of your lawn's soil (get it a few inches down) to get tested for pH. Some garden centers perform the test for free. You may be surprised at how much lime you have to add to bring the pH back up to what grass prefers.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 10:09AM
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Why is it a problem? Moss doesn't need mowing, after all. And yes, shade and moisture will bring moss.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 12:23PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

moss doesnt make for sturdy turf in areas of heavy foot traffic - it peels away and leaves bare soil...
if you are not using the mossy areas heavily, i wouldnt worry about it, in fact i would probably add some ferns and other woodland plants... now if you have some areas that you need some turf, you could consider clover, it tolerates shade and makes a fairly sturdy turf.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 1:50PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

THanks everyone,
It only concerns me in the higher foot traffic areas. I'll check the pH, but we're usually so alkaline around here (lots of limestone here in Indiana), I will be surprised if it's acidic....but I'll check it! Maybe once we finally get some warmth and sunshine here, it will help. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 3:52PM
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Lime will help, but what trees do you have? I was frustrated with one area that grew no grass - only moss - then I realized that it greew no weeds either - root zone of walnut tree to blame - roots emit juglone, poison to other plants and grass.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 4:28PM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

as i understand it, moss is not a weed: it only grows wher ethe grass has died for some reason, or atleast is stressed enough to give moss a competetive arvantage over it

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 9:17PM
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reg_pnw7(WA 7, sunset 4)

Well that is what everyone says, moss only grows where conditions are not right for grass, ie shade and acid soil, but I can state with complete certainty that I have moss growing in my lawn and my lawn is in full sun and relatively neutral soil - around 6.5. The only stress factor would be low nitrogen levels.

There is nothing wrong with a moss lawn per se. Many people around here have moss lawns. Moss grows so much better here in western WA than lawn grasses do for the most part. And Japanese gardens have carefully planted and tended moss patches, it's considered highly desirable. If moss is what wants to grow, what's the problem? it is green after all, and not weedy in the sense that dandelions are generally considered to be. Should you be happy about the moss? only you can decide that.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2005 at 7:29PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

another factor in moss growth is compaction. overly compacted soil (like those in heavy traffic areas) will be to hard to grow turf grass. that darn turf is so picky. if the sun and summer dont clear up your moss, you might want to try core aerating in the fall, adding some compost (organic matter) and overseeding the area with some fescue or clover.

okay - i cannot believe that i am giving some one tips on how to grow turf grass.... help me!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2005 at 8:01PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I like moss. I just didn't understand why it was growing so much around here, since I thought it was a shade thing. It's okay with me if it stays!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2005 at 9:55PM
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I was wondering if there is a way to keep the weeds down. I do a lot of weeding with the moss. I have used commercial weed killer products in some areas and they work, but would prefer not to. I have a new species that has started appearing in some places, which resists weeds much better but it also doesn't transplant well or grow fast. Any thoughts on types?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 12:35PM
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barbamaman(z5/6 OH)

Too acidic, too shady, too wet! You'd need to let in more sun - maybe limb up your lawn area trees and/or remove a few , lime, and improve drainage and/or increase air flow.

Best option - fill the area with shade plants. Rejoice in your pure air among the trees!

Your problem is the opposite of those in the hot dry climates. A great alternative for them is a rosemary "lawn." If you do turn the area into other than grass, finding plants you can walk on is a problem, but then paths and stepping stones are totally charming.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 3:54PM
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I am NOT a lawn person, preferring natural plantings and other groundcovers, but I do keep a small area around the house mowed. When moss began moving in, it made the lawn look like it had mange. I solved the problem with an application of high-nitrogen fertizer. Moss does not fare well with fertilizer, and it slowly withdrew, allowing the grass to take over again.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 4:54PM
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Help I love my moss and my husband didn't know it and sprayed it with roundup now it look brown with a little green. Will it survive what can I do to bring it back?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 11:52AM
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Moss can take DILUTED Round-up but probably will die if he put regular on it. You can try splashing lots of water on it, but if this happened a while ago, I think that would be futile. If any pieces survive, it probably will start to fill in if you have plenty of moisture this summer.

Moss is pretty...lot of types. More people should decide to accept it when it turns up.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 6:21PM
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My back lawn is pretty shaded and always had some moss. It's a natural lawn, no pesticides or fertilizers (other than corn gluten meal 2x yr) for over a decade. It's been hot and dry lately and it seems like the moss has been doing pretty well.

I started watering just the moss for the last three days and it seems to be spreading pretty quickly. I'm tempted to buy some to help fill it in faster but would rather not spend the money.

Is my current strategy workable? Or have I been fooled by some arcane coincidence?

Here is a link that might be useful: Sustainable Living: Energy savings for one and all

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 7:14PM
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Your moss that was sprayed with Roundup might come back, if it was just Roundup with no additives. Sometimes you get a temporary browning with it, and it comes back. I use Roundup to kill the weeds in my moss lawn.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2011 at 7:05PM
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