Moss as a Weed

Asked March 31, 2016, 3:12 PM EDT

I have a low growth spreading moss that gets thicker each year, even after heavy raking. I tried a commercial chemical two years ago, some areas turned brown and most seemed to grow faster! Any suggestions?

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Moss usually grows in shady, damp, compacted soil areas. Its presence is also a sign of low soil fertility and permeability.

it is not a "broadleaf" plant so most herbicides do not affect it. Your experience with spraying an herbicide may simply have been the moss's response to more space to grow as the "weedy "plants were killed off!

I'm not sure what you are trying to grow in this area - grass? vegetable gardens?, other plants?...etc.

For lawns, If this is a relatively sunny area you should do a good job of soil aeration - amend the soil with organic material and and reseed with grass seed. Apply appropriate fertilizers for new lawns in order to crowd out the moss.

If this is in a garden - well again, soil compaction may be an issue. Adding lots of composted manure would do two things - it would increase water permiabilty, and would increase the nutrients that encourage plant growth, and discourage moss growth. Nitrogen fertilizer - applied judiciously (too much will kill off the desirable plants) should help .

Lastly - even though you didn't ask...moss gardens are becoming very desirable, and lots of folks are trying to create the low-growing, soothing look that only moss can provide.

Here are a number of links that should help you manage your moss problem:
http://www.bachmans.com/Garden-Care/divHomePage.html?cnb=GardenCare&categoryCode=02&pageInde... plants)
http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/got-moss-your-lawn-try-these-tips
http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_problems/hgic2363.html,

I hope this is helpful. Please contact AaE again if you have further questions.