Moss Killer Safe for Pets

Asked March 1, 2020, 12:00 PM EST

My flower beds are full of moss this year. I don't want to kill my perennials or harm my dog. What is best to use?

Benton County Oregon

1 Response

Hello. Moss grows where there is shade and moisture levels that meet its needs. To get rid of it permanently you need to change the conditions in your ornamental beds to make conditions less attractive to moss growth. One suggestion is to thin trees above the area that are providing too much shade. Thinning the canopy will allow more sunlight in and help with the moss situation. Another is to take measures to improve drainage of the area. Standing water or perpetual wet soils provide another condition that favors moss. If you have treasured perennials you may have to do drainage improvement in stages. You can divide all your perennials in one area at the same time. Dig them, put them in shade with the roots covered with a moist cloth or heal them in in some loose moist mulch. Work the soil, add compost to help loosen the soil, install tiling or a French drain. Once the renovation of the area is complete divide your plants and replant the area and apply a good layer of mulch. You want to do this quickly to minimize impact to your perennials. Extra protection of the roots will be needed if frost or hot weather is predicted while the plants are out of the ground.

You can also use a nonselective herbicide on moss. Special attachments to a sprayer wand can limit the area sprayed and prevent accidental overspray onto perennials and shrubs. I have one that is an oblong funnel shaped piece of plastic which can be set down on a[DL1] weed right next to a shrub or perennial, all the spray goes down directly on the offending plant not my shrubs. If you spray while your perennials are dormant or have not yet emerged even better. Herbicides work better in warmer temperatures, but they will have impact on your targets if used in cooler weather. It may take longer so be patient. Be sure to follow label instructions and dress appropriately. The label will also tell you about when the area is safe to enter and any precautions that should be taken for your pets.