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How to treat and kill moss in lawns

Updated on October 13, 2015
A powered scarifier is a very effective way of removing thatch and moss from the lawn
A powered scarifier is a very effective way of removing thatch and moss from the lawn

How to remove moss from your lawn

Moss is arguably one of the most annoying problems that affects lawns and turf. It is during the spring that moss is often more problematic in lawns. This is because during the cold dark winter the grass has all but stopped growing. It during this period that moss invades the lawn, especially if the lawn is weak and thin, and come the following spring time the lawn is fill of moss.

There are also several other underlying factors that also favours moss, some of these may beyond our control. However the others may be corrected, which will help prevent moss becoming too much of a nuisance: The reasons for moss invasion are as follows:

  • Shaded areas on the lawn encourage fern and tufted type mosses. If possible reduce the shade with selective pruning and thinning of trees and other vegetation
  • A lawn that suffers from poor surface drainage is likely to suffer from moss problems. Improve the surface drainage with aeration and topdressing if necessary. Avoid apply excess water to the lawn (over watering).
  • Mowing the lawn too close can weaken the and result in loss of grass cover giving moss an ideal opportunity to invade. Simply mow the lawn at a sensible height to maintain a healthy sward.
  • Long dry periods of hot dry weather (drought) can lead to grass loss and weak areas on the lawn. Therefore it is important to irrigate effectively to maintain turf health during these extreme conditions.
  • Soil compaction is a contributing factor to moss invasion. Soil suffering from compaction are likely to be thin and weak resulting in moss invasion. Soils compaction can be relieved with a regular aeration program.
  • Poor air circulation over the lawn can contribute to moss invasion.
  • Lawns that are deficient in nutrients (low fertility) are likely to have poor grass cover and in turn are prone to moss problems. make sure that the lawn receives adequate nutrition with a balanced fertiliser program.
  • Poor lawn management results in a weak lawn. In a nutshell keep the lawn healthy and vigorous with a good lawn practices such as correct feeding and routine aeration and scarifying etc.

How to treat and kill moss on the lawn

If you moss problem is severe you will need to go ahead and treat it. There are various products available for treating an killing moss. The most common and frequently used product is lawn sand. Lawn sand contains sulphate of iron, sulphate of ammonia and sand.

Moss treatment should be undertaken during the spring time just as the grass is showing signs of consistent growth. Apply the product to the lawn at the recommended rate and follow the manufactures instructions. It usually takes around 10 - 14 days for the moss to die (don't be alarmed if the lawn turns black, this is normal when using iron sulphate based products).

Once the moss has been killed, you can go ahead and remove it by raking it out with either a powered lawn rake / scarifier or a suitable hand rake. Once it has been removed you can go ahead with your spring lawn care program.


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