Moss in your lawn is a sign of trouble below the surface

Published Jul 1, 2018 at 9:00am

When you have moss in your lawn, it is a good indication that you have a problem in the soil. Moss indicates poor drainage because moss likes to grow in moist and shaded conditions.

Or, if your lawn has an issue of soil compaction because moss has shallow roots. Or if your lawn has a low soil pH because moss may grow any place.

Although in various garden, moss is texture and color in the right place can be an attractive addition to your garden.

There is Sagina subulata, Irish moss, which looks like moss; however is not a true moss due to the fact the Irish moss has tiny white flowers that bloom in the spring.

The Irish moss is a very attractive addition that prefers sun. Mosses do not flower. In fact, moss is an non-vascular plant that have no xylem or phloem to transport water and nutrients.

A pH soil test is a good start to adjusting your soil. The results of a pH soil sample will allow you to find the correct amendments to add to your soil. This is a process and not a quick fix.

A side note for your pH soil test: Oneida County Extension office can perform the pH test in our offices for $2.00.

The soil sample should include several areas of your lawn and or bed. For your lawn sample, you should go dig four to six inches below the surface because grass roots are shallow compared to some vegetables and flowers.

Depending on the size of your lawn, take several samples of your soil in various places of your lawn. Mix the soil together and bring a hand full to our offices. We will complete the test in the next 24 hours and mail, email or telephone the results; however, you would like to receive the information with amendment suggestions if your soil needs any adjustments.

You are also able to receive a more thorough soil analysis by sending the sample to DairyOne. We have the address, sample boxes and literature at our office.

For more information, please call 315 736 3394. Our front desk person, Linda Wimmer, is a Master Gardener and if she is available will assist you or Linda will direct you to our Horticulture Hotline. 

There are no guaranteed chemical control methods for moss. The best method to rid moss from your lawn is to apply iron sulfate at a select rate of 1 pound per 1,000 square feet. After one hour, water in the iron sulfate in cool, humid weather. Repeat applications may be necessary.

The moss should be raked out after it is dead. Then add grass seed if the bare spots are large or let your lawn fill in naturally.

Make sure you rectify issues of drainage, soil compaction and/or low pH or the moss will return. Have your lawn looking healthy by maintaining your grass height, fertilize, aerate and continue to check your pH.

A visual view of your soil can assist – earthworms are great to have in your soil because earthworms do not live in unhealthy soil.

Further information can be read at our website cceoneida.com or call our Horticulture Hotline at 315-736 3394.