How To Get Rid Of Moss: A Complete Guide

Moss can be a common nuisance to deal with in the lawn and garden. Moss does not cause damage to any surface it covers, and it is not considered an actual invasive weed, but its presence can make your property look unkempt.

It’s important that homeowners know how to properly treat their lawn if they want a healthy, grassy exterior. If you have unwanted moss in your backyard then you will need to get rid of it before moving forward with any landscaping projects that require digging up soil or laying down new sod.

If you have moss growing in your yard, there are several steps you can take to get rid of it for good! In this blog post, I will show you how to identify and get rid of all types of moss so that your grass is healthy and green again. 

What Is Moss?

Bryophyta, or Moss, is a low-lying, flowerless plant that grows as dense, green mats and is typically found in moist, shaded areas such as forest floors and the edge of streams. Moss is most likely the oldest plant type on Earth, with ancestors of the plant dating back to 470 Million years ago.

Moss is one of the main constituents of peat, which is a substance made from the accumulation of partially decayed organic or vegetative matter. Peat is used for fuel for heat or electricity, and is also a distinctive flavor in some Scotch whisky.

Moss can grow on many different substances and in many different locations, and you should be aware of how and where it grows, as well as what it looks like, in order to best deal with it if it grows in your lawn or around your house.

How Does Moss Grow?

Individual plants are usually made up of small leaves that are usually only one cell thick, connected to a stem that can be branched or unbranched, and which has only a minor role in transporting water and nutrients. Some moss species have connective tissue between the overall plant, but this is very underdeveloped and in general moss does not have any vascular ability to transport water and minerals.

Moss does not have seeds, but rather small sporophytes that are each topped with a single capsule containing a spore. Moss spores continuously fall on uncovered surfaces. Within a few years of exposure to wind and rain, moss will frequently take hold on surfaces that are receptive to it.

Most moss grows directly on the ground, with a height between .1 inches and 4 inches tall, so it looks and feels like a carpet or mat growing prostrate along whatever surface it appears on. This could mean that you don’t spot moss growing in your back garden unless you specifically go out and look for it in every space it could grow.

Additionally, moss grows very slowly, typically taking anywhere from five to ten years before it reaches its maximum height. This can lead to you not knowing there’s a moss infestation on your property for months or years.

Where Would You Find Moss Growing?

The most prominent trait of moss growth patterns is that it prefers shade and moisture. Moss thrives when there are high levels of humidity, low light conditions, poor air circulation, or little soil disturbance around their area.

Mosses are most common in damp, shady places, such as wooded areas and streambanks. However, they thrive anywhere that has cool, humid, and cloudy conditions, and some species are well-suited to sunny, dry regions such as alpine rocks or stabilized sand dunes as well.

Essentially, because moss is such an old plant and so many species and types have evolved, it can grow almost anywhere in the world and in almost any conditions. It can grow underwater, or in completely waterlogged locations, but also in locations with very little rain or humidity.

In more urban and suburban environments, moss can be found on porous, moisture-retentive materials like brick, wood, rocks, decks, driveways, patios, and even concrete. Moss can grow in between cracks on the sidewalks, and is often found on rooftops.

Wherever they appear, moss needs at least some water part of the year in order to fertilize and germinate their spores, and some amount of sunlight in order to complete photosynthesis.

What Does Moss Look Like?

Moss is a small, herbaceous plant, meaning they do not contain any wood in their structure. Moss does not have any seeds or even flowers.

They are usually small green plants whose leaves are typically very thin and soft to the touch. These leaves are actually microscopic – they are only one cell in thickness. This is why moss looks like a single felt mat of green, even though it is made up of a large amount of individual strands sticking straight up on stems.

Moss looks like small green patches on the ground or rocks and trees. The color varies depending on the environment – in humid areas moss will be lighter while dryer environments may produce darker mosses because they need more moisture to survive.

How To Eliminate Moss From Your Garden

Once you have established that there is moss growing in your garden, your next step is to remove it. If you have moss on your property and want to know how to get rid of it, there are several different ways.

You can use organic or chemical methods depending on what works best for you and the environment. There are also some preventative measures one can take before they start seeing any growth at all so as not to go through this process again later.

Organic Ways

To remove moss organically, it is similar to thatch removal. Just like with thatch, use a rake to rake the moss up or a de-thatching blade attachment on a lawn mower. Make sure the blade is as low as it can go on the mower.

Then, you can use an organic moss killer that will kill the ground growth. It is advised to apply this with a sprayer instead of spreader or broom because it can be hard to reach all areas of your garden without spraying.

A fully organic herbicide that is proven to kill moss, among other plants, is the Green Gobbler Weed & Grass Killer. It uses a formula of Ethanoic Acid to kill all of the plants in the affected areas it touches.

Chemical Ways

Chemical moss killers are available at most garden centers. However, only use these as a last resort, as they are not necessarily effective and can be dangerous to other plants in your garden.

How Does One Stop Moss Before It Grows?

You should also increase the pH of your lawn with an application of lime. Moss grows less well in a slightly acidic lawn. Additionally, be sure to drain your lawn of any excess water after it rains. Keeping your lawn as dry as possible (while still keeping it healthy) is the best course of action to reduce moss growth.

As always, you should also mow your lawn regularly to prevent moss growth. You can either do this on a regular basis or after new growth starts occurring, and be sure to bag the clippings so as not to leave them in an open area where they could facilitate moss growth too.

Also cut down any large trees that shade parts of your lawn. Allowing more sunshine will keep moss growth to a minimum.

That’s It

Moss can be one of the most frustrating garden nuisances. It is not inherently dangerous or harmful to your property, but it can make a pristine lawn look shaggy and unkempt. But, by understanding what moss is and how it grows you will have a better chance at getting rid of it for good!

This blog post has provided you with information about what moss is exactly as well as how to get rid of it from your garden or property, both organically and using chemicals. We also discussed how one can stop moss before it starts growing. We hope you found an option that will work best for your lawn-care needs!