Moss grows in lawns whenever the lawn has become weak and is dying away. Moss can only grow under wet and permanently moist conditions and only in places with high levels of shade. For many grasses these same conditions are also highly intolerable and will cause the lawn to die off and create bare soil which is welcoming for Moss to take over the lawn area.
The cure for Moss will involve making the affected areas less welcoming for Moss and more welcoming for turf.
Sunlight on lawns should be increased in any way possible to the affected area, this may involve pruning bushes and trees, or restructuring or moving permanent features such as fencing, gazebos or childrens play equipment. Just as direct sunlight is health to a lawn, it is death to moss in the lawn.
Another Lawn Variety
If shade is still heavily present in the area where Moss has taken over, then the next best option will be to plant a more shade tolerant grass type in it's place.
The best shade tolerant grasses are:
- Red Fescue
- Velvet Bentgrass
- Rough Bentgrass
- Creeping Bentgrass
- Chewings Fescue
- Hard Fescue
- St. Augustine
- Manilla Grass
- Zoysia Grass
Lawn Mowing Heights
Increase mowing heights in shady areas, the longer green leaf of the lawn allows the lawn to generate greater photosynthesis under lower light conditions. This makes the grass far more tolerant to shade.
Moss requires a lot of moisture to be permanently present or else it wouldn't grow, even if there were a lot of shade present. Excess soil moisture means that water is not draining away from the soil quickly enough. Instead the soil holds onto the water and this needs to be rectified.
Depending on the severity of the problem there may be two possible solutions. For mild problems with drainage, the use of a wetting agent will aid the soil to distribute water more effectively, this includes away from areas where soil is holding onto water.
For more severe soil drainage problems the next option to consider would be to aerate the soil with a lawn core aerating machine. This machine pulls plugs of soil and turf from the soil, greatly aiding oxygen and water distribution in the soil.
If the soil drainage is very bad and other options are not working, it may be an idea to consider removing the soil from this area and replacing it with a coarse sand or loam, and then seeding or sodding the area with a shade tolerant grass type. this will aid the affected area for years to come by increasing drainage and oxygen levels in the affected area.