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John Fulton

John Fulton
Former County Extension Director

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In The Backyard

Horticulture columns and tips done on a timely basis

Moss in Lawns

Posted by John Fulton -

Moss in lawns has been a frequent topic of conversation this year. Moss doesn't cause lawn decline, but tends to develop as lawns thin due to poor site or management factors. For example, moss may invade lawns with problems such as low soil fertility, poor soil drainage, compacted soils, excessive shade, poor air circulation, and high humidity. Poor lawn care practices are another source of moss problems. General neglect, irregular mowing, lack of fertilizer, and overwatering are common problems leading to poor turf growth that may lead to moss problems.

Moss can be temporarily eliminated by raking. Ferrous ammonium sulfate or ferric sulfate (iron sulfate) can also be used to control moss. The moss will temporarily burn away, but tends to return fairly quickly unless the site conditions and/or lawn care program is altered. Focusing on the reason you have moss is the best solution. Improving air circulation, reducing compaction, fertilizing properly, avoiding excess watering, selecting proper grass varieties, and mowing at the proper height are all considerations. Of course, the excess watering provided by Mother Nature is one of the main problems this year.

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