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Moss 'lawn'

Posted by chrispy33 DE (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 19, 09 at 12:55

I have a summer shore house located in a pine tree area on a salt water tital creek. When I moved in 10 years ago there was a considerable amount of native mosses growing with the grasses on my shady lawn area. I tried to rid the lawn of moss and encourage the grass. That was a headache since it needed to be mowed, fertilized, pampered, etc. Then I had the idea of ridding the lawn of grass and encouraging the moss which to me looks much nicer. That has generally been a bit more successful and much more in tune with the environment. I have parts that are now 4 years old and a bigger area that I just started last fall. I found a helpful book - Moss Gardening by George H. Schenk but I still would like to hear about any other experiences and tips with encouraging moss growth. Propagation is easy as the mosses best suited for the particular area just show up. I know it requires a low ph (5.5) so I appied sulphur which has helped discourage grasses, but weeds (clover, dandelions, etc.) are still an issue until the moss has thickened to the point of full coverage. According to the book the main option is hand weeding. That is almost as much of a pain as maintaning a grass lawn. Any suggestions for weed control? Do lawn weed killers affect moss? Another issue is some small sections just die out for several months with no clear reason why. Hope to get some useful feedback. Thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Moss 'lawn'

The house across the street has a "moss lawn". Actually, it is under trees and I don't think they ever tried to grow grass there. It looks great all year round. I encourage others to try this rather than fight with the moss. The only thing they do is blow the leaves.

When the moss is really established, the weeds will be few. I'm surprised that you have dandelions, do you have enough sun for dandelions to grow? I would avoid the chemical weed killers. I would try a flame weeder instead. (Be careful when using flame weeders, have a hose handy and ready to go before you start, and don't use during extremely dry conditions)

One possible explanations for the areas where the moss doesn't grow, could be that those were the areas that were filled in with top soil, to grade the area flat. I would take a shovel and dig up some of the areas and compare the soil. Drainage could also be an issue. If those areas are large, amending the soil could be expensive and laborious. Maybe, with time, the plants that like that condition will just appear.

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