moss in gardens

Asked March 12, 2016, 3:06 PM EST

I have well drained sandy soil in both my flower and vegetable gardens with a lot of light but have loads of moss blanketing the garden. Are there any of the trace elements I should have the Un of MN test for beyond the basic fertility soil test?

Ramsey County Minnesota

1 Response

Moss thrives where there is shade, low soil fertility, compacted soil, dampness and low pH, usually in a combination of two or more of these. So far as we know, trace elements are not a factor.

Following is an excerpt from a Connecticut University bulletin about this subject:

"Moss removal can be accomplished by using mechanical means such as aggressive raking with a steel rake or by the use of chemicals labeled for moss control. Chemical products available include, iron sulfate, copper sulfate, fatty-acid soaps, and potassium salts. Be sure to read the label before making applications. Some of the available products can be phytotoxic to desired plants and should not be applied at rates higher than specified on the label.

In general, moss control products may have immediate effects but in the long term it is important to realize that killing or removing the moss and failing to correct the conditions that favor it will only result in its re-invasion."