moss in the backyard

Asked April 23, 2019, 12:00 PM EDT

I have a backyard that I am slowly losing to moss. Each year, it seems that I'm getting less grass and more moss coming back. How do I get rid of the moss, and get grass growing and established again? The areas are somewhat wet in the early spring, but quickly dry out. It is also shady the majority of the day, but does get several hours of sun in the mid-afternoon.

Olmsted County Minnesota

1 Response

Moss invading lawns is common especially locations where the grass is growing poorly.
Moss growth is associated with

-excessive shade
-compacted soils,
-poorly drained soils,
-low soil fertility,
-abnormal acidity (usually too acid)
-lack of nutrients for grass.

You would do well start with a soil test that will tell you the nutrients and acidity of your lawn and give you guidelines for remedying them.

Set your mower high--to allow grass roots to go deeper.

Moss grows well in wet soils. If the moss is growing in a low-lying area where the soil stays wet, improving the drainage can discourage moss from growing. Avoid watering on an automatic or regular schedule. This can encourage excess moisture and wet soils. Water your lawn only when you need to.

Grass does not grow well in compacted soils because of the lack of air, water, and nutrients moving through the soil to the roots. Soil compaction also prevents good drainage allowing a favorable spot for moss to grow instead of grass. Soil compaction can be alleviated by aerification. Aeration is the removal of cores of soil from the lawn. Many landscape/lawn businesses can aerate a lawn or aerators can be rented at many places.

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