Why is there so much green moss growing in my perennial garden especially this year? I noticed it this spring (and ongoing throughout the summer) when I was hoe-ing around the plants getting them ready for the spring pellet feed, Osmocote? Thanks, Dorothy Kleinbeck
Hennepin County Minnesota
I don’t have a good answer to your first question as to why you are seeing more moss in your gardens this season as compared to past seasons. There are many variables that can stimulate moss growth, and often it is difficult to pinpoint just one cause.
But there are some general factors. Usually moss favors cool, moist, and shady places. If these conditions have been developing in your gardens over the past few seasons, it might explain what you are observing this year. In particular, have any trees been transplanted closer to your gardens, and/or have they grown to an extent that they are now shading your gardens? Did any of your perennials – this was a banner year for them – grow to such a height that excessive shade was created at the soil surface in various places within the gardens?
The following site will expand upon some of these points:
Moss may also grow in sunny areas in damp seasons if soil fertility is low. Acid soil can contribute to the growth of moss. Have you had the soils tested in your gardens within the last four or five years? If not, this fall would be an ideal time to do so. It would be best to do this soil test prior to your applying Osmocote. The test results would be a valuable guideline as to exactly what type of fertilizer you need to add and in what amounts. If you wait to do soil testing in the spring, the turnaround time can be many weeks. Please see the following University of Minnesota site for further information and the necessary forms:
Unfortunately, there is no herbicide that you can apply that will permanently get rid of moss. The most effective procedure is to pay attention to the points that were made in this response.
Thanks for getting back. If you want to keep things simple, perhaps you may just want to wait. I don't know what kind of perennials you have, but if they are ones that you usually cut back in the fall, at that time the moss can easily be pulled out. This is no guarantee that it won't come back at some time in the future. I doubt that this moss is interfering with the growth of the perennials. It really is more of an appearance situation. However, I know exactly your where you are coming from. For years I have tried to eliminate moss in one corner of a garden with relatively little success. You could even try pulling up the moss at this time. Again, it should come up rather easily.
I can relate to creaky knees, sore backs, and aching muscles. I am no spring chicken myself.
Thank you very much for your kind thoughts.