General Information: Of all the problems associated with lawns and turf, moss
is probably the most common and frustrating. Year after year many people treat, kill and remove
moss from their lawns only to see it return again. This is because unless you correct the
underlying conditions that cause this problem it will keep returning.
Causes of moss: To effectively control moss you will have to find the causes
and correct them. The conditions that cause moss are.
Poor surface drainage - A wet or damp lawn surface encourages fern and tufted
A deficiency in fertility and nutrients - Any lawn deficient in essential
nutrients is prone to having a weak and thin coverage of grass, leaving it open for moss
Mowing the lawn to short - By mowing the grass to short causes the grass to
become weak inviting moss to invade.
Lack of sunlight due to shade - Shaded lawns suffer from frequent moss problems
due to the lack of sunlight resulting in a thin sward.
Drought - During dry summers it is important to irrigate when the lawn starts
to signs of stress to avoid any loss of grass resulting in a thin sward.
Acidic conditions - Moss prefers acidic conditions.
Some of these conditions (mowing, drought, fertility) are easily rectified as they are simply
caused by poor maintenance practices. However some of them (acidity, drainage) may take more time
to correct as they inherent problems within the soil or lawn. However with the correct program you
should be able to gradually reduce any moss problems on your lawn
How to treat, kill & remove moss: Although moss can be a problem at any
time, it causes the biggest headache throughout the winter months and early spring time.
Early spring time (late March - early April) is the ideal time for treating moss depending on
the weather conditions. Ideally wait until there a some signs of growth before undertaking any moss
The two common products for killing moss are sulphate of iron (iron sulphate) and Dichlorprop.
These two ingredients are found in many products available for moss control such as lawn sand,
feed, weed & moss killer, liquid moss killer + turf tonic and many more that are available.
Which ever product you choose it is important to follow the manufacturers application
It should take about 10 - 14 days for the moss to be killed (it will turn black). You can now go
ahead and remove the moss from the lawn by scarification. This is usually done by a powered machine
that rakes out all of the dead moss. However a springtine can also be used for this if you have a
small area or are feeling very energetic.
Aftercare: Once the moss has been removed you may be left with some thin or
bare areas. These areas can be overseeded and top dressed to aid recovery. Also many of the moss
control products contain a feed and this will help speed up recovery.
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