I am seeing a lot more moss this year than in priors years. Why? Well, for one, here in the Northeast we experienced a wet fall, then in winter we had very little snow, but a lot of rain instead. This rain sat on the surface of ground with no place to go. Leap forward to this spring, which has been unseasonably cool and very wet. This is a perfect opportunity for moss to grow and boy it has certainly grown! I am seeing moss in areas I have never seen it before.
What is Moss?
There are thousands of different species of moss. Moss is defined as a non-flowering plant, sponge-like, creating a feeling like you are walking on carpet. Moss thrives in shady conditions, also where prolonged moisture is left for long periods of time. Moss will reproduce from millions of spores which then spread when rain or moisture penetrate the plant tissue. As mentioned above, we have had a lot of rain since last fall and into spring this year, which is adding to the increase of moss growth.
What steps can I take to rid moss in my lawn?
Because most mosses thrive in soil conditions with low pH, lime applications are your best way to raise pH levels in soil and help prevent moss from growing.
Another method is to improve water and air circulation. Core aeration will pull plugs and help improve air flow in the soil. This improves both air and water circulation which helps prevent moss from forming. Overseeding is a critical part of core aeration, because new seed will create thicker, healthier turf which will help absorb standing water. Core aeration and overseeding in combination with a soil conditioner such as lime will aid in all of the above.
Moss is also common on hard, compacted soils or poorly drained soils.
Avoid mowing lawns short. A tall, healthy grass plant will aid in a much stronger, healthier root system. This allows the reproduction of grass plants and helps absorb moisture.
Spring lawn care
Applying the correctly balanced fertilizer in early spring will help grass plants grow and reproduce. Providing the right nutrients throughout the season will help in root development, and this in turn helps to provide a thicker healthier turf.
Too many trees may be the cause
Is the real reason you have moss, because you have too many trees and not enough sunlight? Sometimes changing the environment around your lawn in necessary. This means it might be necessary to trim tree limbs or even remove some trees. By doing so, you allow more air circulation, reduce shade and increase natural sunlight.
As always, contact StayGreen Lawn Service at 413-998-7829 with any questions or concerns.