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Show Lawn Moss Who's the Boss

by Dawn West, All About Lawns Columnist

Don't Overwater Your Lawn
Lawn Moss

Moss can lay low in your lawn, but before you know it can be practically everywhere. Knowing what causes moss is the first step to reclaiming your lawn. With the culprits unmasked, you'll be ready to take action. Ready to fight? Read on.

Lawn moss crops up when your soil isn't quite fertile enough for grass, when your soil is too acidic, in excessively shady areas, in areas with poor drainage, and in areas where the soil is too compacted. Of course, there's the possibility that you're battling lawn moss as a result of several of these problems combined. Here's how to address them, alone or in concert, and send moss packing.
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Problem #1 - Infertile Soil

Fertilize. That one word pretty much says it all. With a nutrient booster shot, your lawn will pick up and start to squeeze out the moss.

Problem #2 - Acidic Soil

To adjust the ph level of your lawn's soil, sprinkle it with lime pellets (they'll add some alkalinity to it). Your lawn will be happy. Your moss won't. Make sure to wait at least a week between fertilizing and applying lime.

Problem #3 - Excessive Shade

Honestly appraise your yard. Are bushes and trees blocking all the light? Sometimes it's going to come down to chopping down some of those lovely plants if you want your lawn to thrive and a myriad of other problems, moss among them, to disappear.

Problem #4 - Poor Drainage

If your yard has low spots, fill them in. If the soil has trouble draining in general, a drainage ditch is a good idea. Once water is getting down from the surface to your lawn's roots, your lawn will be delighted, and your moss will be miserable.

Problem #5 - Excessive Compaction

Aeration. It's another nice and easy one word answer. Don't just go for shoes with spikes. Rent a power plugger that actually removes plugs of soil to help your lawn breathe. The moss won't like it one bit. Your lawn, on the other hand, will just adore it.

About the Author
Dawn West B.A. holds a B.A. in English from Harvard University and teaches writing at Oregon State University.

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