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Killing Moss: A Typical Struggle for Washington Lawn Owners

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

If you live in a wet and cool climate like western Washington State, chances are strong that your lawn has an ongoing struggle with moss infestation. On the eastern side of the Cascades, grasses have a chance to dry out, but the closer you are to Puget Sound, the more easily yellow-tinted moss (a plant, not a mold) can take a serious hold on your lawn, particularly in spring, fall, and winter months.

Once moss sets up colonies on your lawn, it can send spores over to outdoor structures and decks, destroying the quality of the wood. Homeowners have a number of options before resorting to herbicides if they want to at least keep the non-flowering mosses at bay. Have your soil tested for high acidity. Other contributing factors are compacted and poorly drained soil, excessive shade, and low fertility.
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If you've helped improve grass and soil drainage, pruned back on overhanging branches and shrubs, used ample fertilizers and ripped out moss colonies with a power rake to little avail, then you may have to resort to chemicals.

Moss Treatments for Washington Lawns

There are several state-approved moss-control chemicals used throughout Washington. High concentrations of alkaline, zinc, and ferrous sulfate (iron) in these products have immediate and long-term affects on moss. The zinc destroys moss at to the roots, while iron blackens and kills the leaves almost overnight.

The moss-control products have a variety of delivery methods, through concentrated hose-fed sprays, diluted soaking solutions, and granules that you dust directly on your lawn with a spreader. Always water your lawn when applying these products. You'll need to apply chemicals on an actively growing lawn in the spring, fall, or winter--lawn that you've mowed at least four or five times this year. These products will stain driveways, stone, cement, and your shoes and clothing. Wash them off immediately.

About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.

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