We are building a new home in Wilmington, DE and the lawn is going to be shady. We are interested in installing a moss lawn and would appreciate any guidance as to how to install moss and what type of moss would be happy in this area of the country. Also any information concerning a source to purchase the moss would be appreciated.
Dear New Homeowner
Before deciding to make the moss investment your yard must meet certain requirements:
- The area must get less than 2 hours of sunlight per day or the moss will not survive. This is particularly a problem the winter and spring when there are no leaves on the trees and no snow cover. The moss will yellow and may turn green when the trees leaf out or may not. A good rule is that if the soil has moss growing over it now it will be ok. if grass and weeds are growing well the moss probably will not thrive and cover the lawn totally.
- The soil should be acid with a pH about 5. This can be adjusted.
- The moss must always be kept moist preferably with unchlorinated water. This would indicate an irrigation system with well water for a large lawn or dedicated watering with sprinklers during a dry period.
- The sheet moss will cost about $4 to $4.50 per square foot. This is the fastest way to have a moss yard. Preparing the soil and laying the moss is not included in that price.
If your soul passes these tests then the application begins. The way to prepare the lawn for moss is to unprepare it for grass. The soil should be compressed and made acidic (pH about 5) and not fertilized. Some reports say make the lawn muddy before planting. I tried to find a landscape contractor in New Castle County who had done a moss yard and in most cases could not find any firm where I could speak to a real person. The two who answered the phone said they had never done that before and one said they would be agreeable to try. You might be more successful getting a landscape company to answer the phone on a rainy day. I think they are all out servicing lawns today.
The other option is to use a "milkshake" of ground moss which runs about $2.00 per square foot but takes much longer to fill in, This slurry is spread over prepared soul.
There are other methods which require you to find moss in the wild and grind it up and mix it with liquids to make you own milkshake. I would not advise taking moss from wooded areas especially parks.
For more information see http://www.mossacres.com/ .
I may not have answered all your questions but will have given you information to allow you to decide if your lawn is right for moss. The person at Moss Acres thought they may have worked with landscapers in your area but I didn't ask him for names. You might pursue that path.
Good luck with the new house