How can we encourage grass instead of moss?
Where can we got our soil tested? We are having trouble growing grass on our property. We have several large oaks and lots of moss. What do we need to encourage grass growth?
Harford County Maryland
Moss is a symptom. Grass under trees or in shade is very problematic. Grass needs 3-4 hours of sunlight to grow. If you have less sun than that, you may be wasting time and money trying to grow grass and should either increase the sunlight (prune or remove trees, etc.) or think about alternatives such as ground covers (moss is one!), mulch, or ornamental beds.
Moss does not kill grass. It moves into bare space as unhappy grass dies and leaves bare spaces for it. So removing moss doesn't solve the problem. There are 5 reasons that moss moves in and the #1 reason is too much shade. The other reasons are: #2 too wet for grass, #3 too low pH (i.e. too acidic and needs lime), #4 soil is too compacted, and #5 fertility is too low. You may want to get a soil test to determine what your lawn needs in the way of fertilizer and lime. Here's our website fact sheet on moss:
For future questions, you can contact us directly at: http://extension.umd.edu. We specialize in helping homeowers exclusively.