rocket mass heater dvd*
Permies likes lawn and the farmer likes dealing with Moss in my lawn permies
  Search | Permaculture Wiki | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login


(the sound is wonky for the first 20 seconds)

daily-ish email

micro heaters

rocket mass heater

wofati

permies » forums » growies » lawn
Bookmark "dealing with Moss in my lawn" Watch "dealing with Moss in my lawn" New topic
Author

dealing with Moss in my lawn

David Chritchly


Joined: Mar 22, 2012
Posts: 3
Hi,

I have been reading Paul Wheaton's lawn care for the cheap and lazy here. Since we have a youngster running around now I want to loose the chemicals. I've got my pH tested, ready to apply lime, mow high, leave the clippings on the lawn and aerate aerate aerate- however we are in the pacific north west. I can't exactly starve the lawn of water so I can water it once every 4-6 weeks too starve the weeds- it just doesn't get that dry here. Furthermore, every winter the moss grows back in.

If I apply lime and compost I expect it will encourage the moss right? Should I get rid of the moss prior to spring maintenance? I'd like to aerate and apply sand to improve drainage but its going to be hard to find that time this year. Should I ignore the moss this year?

Thanks
Tom Pavlo


Joined: Jul 22, 2011
Posts: 18
It was always my understanding that moss was a sign of your pH being too low. The lime should correct that. A couple of years ago, I had some moss growing between my grass. Once I limed, the grass grew in better and I haven't seen the moss since.

I think that your best plan would be to lime it up to a ph of 6.5-6.8 and then just do what you can to get the grass to grow thicker.

Why do you add sand to your lawn? The structure of your soil will dictate how much lime you are going to have to apply. For example, the dirt in my front and back yards are different enough that I need to apply double the amount of lime in the back to get the same effect. This has something to do with the soil weight and the front being more sandy.

I also believe that Paul generally discourages aerating as he sees it a waste of time.
Cris Bessette
volunteer

Joined: May 20, 2011
Posts: 650
Location: North Georgia / Appalachian mountains , Zone 8A
    
  26
Tom Pavlo wrote:It was always my understanding that moss was a sign of your pH being too low. The lime should correct that. A couple of years ago, I had some moss growing between my grass. Once I limed, the grass grew in better and I haven't seen the moss since.



There are certain parts of my yard that I want to encourage moss growth (Its like a soft green carpet!) so I imagine I should purposely lower the PH somehow...

David Chritchly


Joined: Mar 22, 2012
Posts: 3
Tom Pavlo wrote:It was always my understanding that moss was a sign of your pH being too low. The lime should correct that. A couple of years ago, I had some moss growing between my grass. Once I limed, the grass grew in better and I haven't seen the moss since.

I think that your best plan would be to lime it up to a ph of 6.5-6.8 and then just do what you can to get the grass to grow thicker.

Why do you add sand to your lawn? The structure of your soil will dictate how much lime you are going to have to apply. For example, the dirt in my front and back yards are different enough that I need to apply double the amount of lime in the back to get the same effect. This has something to do with the soil weight and the front being more sandy.

I also believe that Paul generally discourages aerating as he sees it a waste of time.


Hi Tom,

I had read in my local paper than aereating and then adding sand should improve drainage and discourage moss growth. I'm not doing that this year anyway. I will adjust the pH first. Can I lime when the lawn is wet?
Rich Pasto


Joined: Dec 13, 2011
Posts: 97
water and pH are definitely culprits, but you need to also look at how much sunlight your yard gets. The lower sunlight levels in winter may be helping the moss spread/return every year.

Food for thought, what are the drawbacks to moss beside the cosmetics? You basically dont have to do anything to it, and it will develop into a soft green carpet if left undisturbed. I remember moss yards from back east and they were really quite nice.
David Chritchly


Joined: Mar 22, 2012
Posts: 3
Rich Pasto wrote:water and pH are definitely culprits, but you need to also look at how much sunlight your yard gets. The lower sunlight levels in winter may be helping the moss spread/return every year.

Food for thought, what are the drawbacks to moss beside the cosmetics? You basically dont have to do anything to it, and it will develop into a soft green carpet if left undisturbed. I remember moss yards from back east and they were really quite nice.


Yes, I am beginning to accept the moss. It is cheap and easy after all. Winter sunlight is a problem here, as well as "excess" winter "moisture".

E. Iseli


Joined: Apr 10, 2013
Posts: 2
Hi folks,

My first post here... I have moss in my lawn too. The street we're at being called "Moss Way" makes me think there must be a reason for it... I like grass so I do aerate and then I wonder what I should do with the collected biomass. I've read it's not a good idea to put it into the compost, and I really don't want to dispose it with the regular garbage and have it burnt along with it. So what could I do with all that material? Any ideas and hints highly welcome!

Iseli
Tom OHern


Joined: Feb 03, 2011
Posts: 138
    
    7
I have been working for years to get more moss in my lawn. That and clover. Why would I do this? The more moss and clover you have, the less you have to mow and water. How can you not want that?
E. Iseli


Joined: Apr 10, 2013
Posts: 2
Tom OHern wrote:I have been working for years to get more moss in my lawn. That and clover. Why would I do this? The more moss and clover you have, the less you have to mow and water. How can you not want that?

Well, there's 2 things: one I like mowing the lawn, it's not that big so I don't mind the work. Plus it gives me material for mulching. Second, moss comes off much too easily when kids are playing on the lawn, and the bare spots look ugly. The clover you mention is not my favorite either because of its flowers. When the kids are playing barefoot in summer, the risk to get stung by bees. Don't get me wrong, I love bees and I have a small lot of garden with wild flowers.
John Flower


Joined: Apr 03, 2013
Posts: 15
Location: New Zealand
Paul Wheaton writes about aeration at Best Time for Aeration and Aeration Panacea or Myth?. My interpretation is that aeration is useful if your soil is crap and you are unwilling to till it or to replace the grass with a cover crop for one season. Aerate before amending with compost and lime.

I have a lawn which had never been aerated in 15 years. There were patches where the grass was sparse and growing slowly. These patches were more compacted than the rest of the lawn (I stuck a fork in to test). After core aerating the grass grew better. You can read what I've done at Kiwi lawn on track?. Is your soil compacted? You didn't mention if it was - just that you wanted improved drainage (which compost will do). I picked my cores up by hand and crushed them, returning loose dirt and microbes to the lawn.

The long term solution is to increase the amount of organic matter in the soil. Leave your clippings on the lawn and spread compost. This will feed the worms. Worms make tunnels. Aeration.

I speculate that longer grass, with deeper roots, will help water to drain better than short grass. It will also make better use of whatever water is thrown at it. Can someone wise comment on this?
John Flower


Joined: Apr 03, 2013
Posts: 15
Location: New Zealand
On clover. There are some microclover cultivars which produce very few flowers. They also have smaller leaves than usual. Against clover is that it is a little more slippery than grass for playing on.
Steve Slunick


Joined: Mar 30, 2014
Posts: 1
Hello,
I'm new to this forum and also have a huge moss problem.
I have a cottage in Northern Michigan that has a lawn the is probably 50% solid moss. It is a shady site, with a steep hill that leads down to the lake. So I have to be careful of what I put on the lawn as it could wash into the lake.

I can't tell you how much money I have spent trying to over seed to get the grass to grow. Now after reading this forum I feel really stupid.

I'm almost to the point of just accepting the moss because it does require no maintenance and feels great on your feet when coming out of the lake.

I have been mowing WAY to short. This is because we have a lot of beech trees that drop nuts and really hurt when you step on them in bare feet. So I have a tractor with bagger and cleans them up nicely. The main problem is the moss is terrible for high traffic areas.

I notice that where the shade stops and the sun hits the lawn the moss looses the battle to the grass. However the grass is very sparse and I need it thicker in the high traffic areas and on the hill for erosion control.

I have not had the soil tested yet but because of the high moss content I'm assuming it is low? So I need to add lime to help the grass and raise the mower blades. My concern is the lake. What happens if some of that lime ends up in the lake? Also because of the hill the soil could be very compacted. If I aerate on the hill will I risk a serious erosion problem?

Thanks for the advice.

Shane McKee


Joined: Mar 02, 2013
Posts: 59
Location: Northern Ireland
    
    3
Hi Steve, I guess part of the issue is that lawns per se are pretty overrated. If you were putting enough lime on your grass for run-off to pose a hazard to the lake, that would be WAY too much lime for anything - I think you're likely to be safe. However I'd be inclined to maybe just mow a few tracks in it; let the rest just grow over the next year, then scythe back and (if you really must) mow next year. The bees, insects and the kiddie will love you for it. I'm rapidly gravitating to the notion that lawns should be wild meadows rather than bland green carpets.
Here in Northern Ireland people spend tons on their lawns, scarifying, fertilising, aerating, etc. I've done it myself - too much hard work, and in reality the lawn (acid soil over tight waterlogged clay, crap drainage) was no better. So last year I just let it do its own thing mostly, and after our wettest winter on record it's actually looking pretty good. Oh, and I dug out a section and made a Mandala garden. Big win. Let the lawn do what it naturally wants to do; offer it gentle encouragement in the right direction, and it will reward you. (Sounds really nice where you are!)
-S


"And they'll carry our dreams to the stars from the canyons of Mars." http://answersingenes.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/one-way-to-mars.html Tw: @shanemuk
Matu Collins
steward

Joined: Feb 24, 2011
Posts: 1147
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
    
  37
David Chritchly wrote:
If I apply lime and compost I expect it will encourage the moss right? Should I get rid of the moss prior to spring maintenance? I'd like to aerate and apply sand to improve drainage but its going to be hard to find that time this year. Should I ignore the moss this year?


Here are two things to know about moss: It is a very simple plant and it is an opportunist.

It uses its root-like structures (rhizoids) only to anchor itself not for nutrition. It doesn't need compost or lime or acidity or anything like that. Soil nutrition is all the same to moss. The amount of sun it needs varies among species as does the amount of moisture, but on the whole it is tolerant of shade and drought.

Moss is slow growing and as you have observed not very well anchored to its spot. It makes up for its inadequacies by growing where other plants can't grow well. So if you do things that make the soil better for grass, the grass will be able to overcome pretty easily. Compost and lime help the grass. Shade is your hardest hurdle to overcome, I think.

Me, I love moss. Oooooooooh especially this time of year when my eyes are starved for green the moss is a visual feast. My kids know how much I love moss and run around other places. I'm blessed with plenty of room, so that works.


I'm almost to the point of just accepting the moss because it does require no maintenance and feels great on your feet when coming out of the lake.


If this was me I'd make a path of flat stones through the moss and leave it. mmmhmm I love that green green green


“Enough is as good as a feast"
-Mary Poppins
Ivan Weiss


Joined: Dec 19, 2009
Posts: 152
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
I am dealing with these issues right now. My method for dealing with moss is to rake it out of the lawn altogether, add it to the compost pile, and plant White Dutch Clover where the moss has been. Once the clover takes hold it will be tougher for the moss to re-establish itself. I take this trouble because my lawn clippings get fed to cattle and hogs, who devour them greedily. Obviously the clover serves that purpose better than moss does. Plus it fixes nitrogen so that the other grasses benefit from it. Yes it involves some additional input, but hell, if it was good enough for Fukuoka, it's good enough for me.


Pastured poultry, pork, and beef on Vashon Island, WA.
 
 
subject: dealing with Moss in my lawn
 
Similar Threads
Jekyll and Hyde = My Front and Back Yard - Help Me Fix My Lawn
organic lawn care for the cheap and lazy
On The right track?
moss in lawn
Best way to overseed?
cast iron skillet 49er

more from paul wheaton's glorious empire of web junk: cast iron skillet diatomaceous earth sepp holzer raised garden beds raising chickens lawn care flea control missoula electric heaters permaculture videos permaculture books