Moss On Lawns

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Moss on lawns

If left untouched, moss on lawns will continue to spread, taking over where your beautiful lawn once was.  So how do you control the moss? 

Moss will grow under the perfect shady, moist conditions.  There are steps you can take to improve those conditions and take back control of your garden. 

What is the cause of moss on lawns?

Moss will thrive when lawns are prone to poor growing conditions. These can include:

  • Shaded North facing gardens.
  • Shading caused by trees, hedges or high fences.
  • Gardens prone to damp, waterlogged conditions.
  • Compacted clay soil.
  • Acidic soil.
  • Poor soil conditions.
  • Poorly maintained lawns.
  • Dry, drought damaged lawns.
  • Worn areas due to general daily used walkways.

How to remove moss on lawns

Shaded areas 

Shaded lawns


Reduce the shade in your garden if possible.  Grass, like all other plants need plenty of sunlight to grow strong, healthy and get enough food from photosynthesis.   

  • There is little that can be done to prevent moss growth if your lawn is in the shadow of buildings.  However, there are shade tolerant grass seed brands that you can sow to improve your lawn. If trees or hedges on your property are creating shade, prune the trees and keep the hedges trimmed reducing any overhang.  

  • Raise your mower blades so that the grass is cut to a longer length. This allows it to trap more sunlight and create its own shade to overshadow the moss.  Use a shade tolerant grass seed brand to over seed the area.   

  • North facing gardens are prone to moist, shady conditions because they receive less sunlight throughout the day.  Raising the mower height and over-seeding each spring will help to maintain a healthy north facing lawn. 

Soil conditions

Moss on lawns, clay soil


Moss will thrive in moist wet soil.  Clay soil is prone to moss growth because it compacts and limits air circulation around the roots of the grass.  The grass becomes weak and slow to grow allowing moss to move in and take over. 

  • Improving drainage in a clay lawn can be done easily by spiking the lawn with a garden fork or aerator sandals.  However, this will only benefit the top layer of the soil.  The soil below the drainage holes will still be compact and prone to water-logged, damp conditions.  

  • Laying a new lawn from scratch is the perfect opportunity to improve the soil quality.  Remove the old turf and mix in a free draining mixture of horticultural sand and a good quality compost mix of organic material and manure. This will improve the soil texture and quality giving your lawn the ideal conditions to grow. 

Poor air circulation

Aerator for lawns


Lawns suffering from poor air flow will increase the chance for moss and fungal diseases to take hold. Poor air circulation in lawns leaves the ground damp with limited drainage paths.

  • Improve air circulation in lawns by spiking the ground with a garden fork, hollow tine aerator or aerator sandals. This will improve compacted soil conditions allowing air flow. By spiking the lawn, rain water can pool in the hole feeding the roots at a much healthier depth.

  • Aerating the lawn will improve air flow, drainage and improve healthy bacterial activity. This will help to reduce the chance for moss to take over the lawn.

Dry, drought damaged lawns

Dry, drought damaged lawn

Grass has the amazing ability to spring back into life when the rain comes.

  • South facing gardens can become prone to dry patches in the lawn. This can be easily fixed by aerating the lawn to help retain moisture in the soil.
  • Over-seed the area with a drought tolerant grass seed.
  • During a long dry summer keep the ground moist. Watering the garden once a week should be more than sufficient.
  • Give the grass a deep watering of up to an hour in the morning. Over watering the lawn can be damaging and allow weeds, moss and disease to take root .

Well maintained lawn

Choosing the right grass seed for your garden is the best way to improve the chance for grass to grow. With regular care and maintenance, grass will thrive in your garden giving you a verdant green lawn to enjoy all year round. 

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