Here’s How to Control Moss on Your Lawn
That green, carpet-like growth on your lawn could mean you need to learn how best to control moss.
But if you’re like most do-it-yourself homeowners, you’ll want to try this organic, quick-start moss control guide before you move on to a professional.
Table of Contents
- 5 Conditions That Grow Moss
- Lawn Applications to Control Moss
- Related Resources
- Need More Help?
5 Conditions That Grow Moss
If moss is growing on your Cincinnati lawn, it’s because the conditions are right for moss and not grass. To convince grass to grow instead of moss, you must reverse the conditions that create moss.
These are the conditions that moss likes and what you need to do to prevent or exterminate it.
You’ll rarely see moss growing in full-sun gardens in most parts of the United States, and that includes Southwest Ohio. It’s difficult to tell a homeowner to cut down a tree to increase the light hitting your lawn.
If this is your problem, you might need to consider this drastic solution. But other techniques are available, such as simply not trying to grow grass under deep, continuous shade.
Damp areas are perfect havens for moss. The only long-term solution is to hire a landscaper or drainage contractor to solve the problem. Why? Because you have to get rid of the water and that’s a big job.
3. Low Fertility
Moss does not thrive in areas with good lawn fertility. But this problem can be easily solved by a professional fertilization program or by learning how to feed your lawn.
An often-recommended organic application is to add superphosphate at 1 pound per 1,000 square feet. Although you can’t guarantee results without a soil test, it’s a good place to start.
Moss often thrives in lawns where thatch is present. Thatch is a dense layer of living and dead organic matter that accumulates between the soil surface and the green matter.
If you get rid of the thatch, you’ll likely get rid of the moss. The conditions that help keep the thatch accumulating will also work to keep moss alive.
5. Acidic Soils
Moss prefers soils that have pH of less than 6.0. Acidic soils with pH levels lower than 6.0 can easily be corrected by adding live to the lawn.
Two pounds of lime per 1,000 square feet will move the pH up (on average soils) by .01. How much to add to your soil depends on the original soil acidity.
It is best to get a soil test from a professional, then add the mount of lime the test recommends. Otherwise, you’re just guessing. And you won’t know much lime to add. The test is an important measurement to keep you from using an amount that could harm or even destroy your lawn.
NOTE: If you are in the Cincinnat and Northern Kentucky area, you probably don’t have acidic soil. Although overly acidic soils are normally a concern, we have limestone-based soil.
Lawn Applications to Control Moss
There are some recommended home remedies to battle moss. These include a 50:50 solution of vinegar and water. If you try this method, be careful because vinegar can harm your existing healthy grass.
A few other DIY applications include fatty acid (soap-based) products such as moss and algae killers. The Safer brand makes a product that works safely on lawns, decks, and pathways. Dilute copper sulfate is also packaged as a moss killer, as is ammonium and iron sulfate. Finally, you can try treating your lawn with a moss control fertilizer.
We have seen these products have some affect but repeating applications are necessary and the moss will keep coming back.
Professionals can use a herbicide containing Carfentrazone-ethyl and get effective control after a few applications. These treatments can be expensive, however, so we usually recommend we try to exhaust all cultural controls first.
Just like water, moss always wins. Moss will grow if you have conditions favorable for it. So, it’s important for a healthy, thriving lawn that you learn how to prevent it and create conditions where you lawn can thrive and not the moss.
Here’s the bottom line. You can avoid much of these problems by understanding the conditions for moss to grow and taking care of the conditions that allow for it.
- Fertilizer & Weed Control page
- Seasonal Lawn Care Guide
- How Should I Water My Lawn
- Get a Free Estimate
Need More Help?
Need professional help to control moss on your Cincinnati-area lawn? Just contact American Landscapes here for a free, no-obligation estimate. Or call us at (513) 947-8727.
You can also learn more about our lawn care treatments, and outdoor lighting services by reading our blog. In addition to fertilizer and weed control, we also provide mosquito control, lawn aeration, lawn seeding, and much more.