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Moss, glorious Moss!

Posted 14th Nov 2013 12:50pm by Simon Johnson

About Moss

There are over 12,000 species of moss and algae, of which over 50 species are found to affect grass. Mosses are primitive non-flowering plants that have no root structure and rely on a sufficient moisture environment being present for reproduction and survival. The majority of them are tolerant of acidic conditions and are stimulated by cool wet humid conditions. Rapid colonisation of moss and algae’s usually occur during autumn and winter months when soils are lying wet and saturated for long periods of time. Particularly when, little or no regular maintenance has been undertaken. Moss Spores

There are three main types of mosses found in turf:

  • Cushion forming
  • Trailing mosses
  • Upright mosses

Mosses grow slowly and are tolerant of shade and close mowing and are able to populate turf situations when turf grasses are under stress and bare soil areas are available for the moss to invade. Moss can spread either by spores or by detached fragments of the parent plant material. However mosses are less tolerant of wear. Mosses are not the cause of turf decline but a symptom of environmental conditions or poor maintenance regimes.

Causes of Moss

  • Long periods of wet weather
  • Long periods of dry weather
  • Low soil fertility
  • Compacted soils
  • Low or high soil pH
  • Excessive shade
  • Poorly drained soils
  • High thatch contents
  • Poor air circulation
  • Closely mown / weak grass growth
  • Ineffective maintenance regimes, particularly mowing, fertilising, aeration, brushing, scarifying and pesticide / weed control operations.

The Solution

  • Don’t mow too short
  • Keep turf mowed at 1” no shorter
  • Aerate lawns to allow water to move away from surface (back fill holes with dressing where drainage is poor or soil is predominantly clay
  • Prune low trees/bushes to increase air and light to lawn
  • Feed lawn and control weeds
  • Scarify to remove thatch
  • Treat moss with liquid iron or with fertilisers with high iron content
  • Call ProLawnCare who will assess the lawn and what can be done to prevent moss