Moss is one of the most common lawn problems in the UK and is unsightly to look at.
They occur in almost any terrestrial environment where moisture is available. Moss produces no roots as such, however they do produce structures called rhizoids that have a purely anchoring function, with water and nutrients being absorbed via the arial part of the plant.
There are approximately 600 species of moss in the UK, and approximately 30 of these species can appear in turf. They can be grouped into 2 major categories, according to their growth habit:
1. Cushion or mat-forming, found on hard surfaces, paving or tennis courts.
2. Trailing mosses, symptomatic of poor drainage and shaded areas.
There are normally 2 major growth periods for moss during the year. These are autumn and spring, when spores are produced, before later dying.
If a lawn is infested with moss, it needs to be treated before other applications will work properly. Because moss is such a common problem, when we provide a quotation and lawn analysis, the first treatment that we usually recommend, is a moss killer application, as untreated lawns are most likely to be infested with it.
Most customers have scarification afterwards to remove the debris from the lawn.
Common causes for moss
- Excessive moisture
- Clay soil/Compaction
- Poor drainage
- Excessive thatch
Why do you need to treat the turf for moss?
It is vital that moss is treated regularly before it reaches the stage where the moss chokes out the grass. It is also unsightly as it is very much lighter in colour than that of the grass plant. A regime of chemical treatment, scarification and aeration will keep the moss to a minimum and allow for the grasses to grow and thicken.
Regular scarification will also help in treating moss as this will reduce the thatch layer which if left to build becomes an ideal growing medium for the development of moss.
Ways of treating moss
When to treat moss in turf?
There are two main periods in the year when moss treatment is recommended. Firstly there is the spring period, as moss may have become infested in the lawn over the winter period, especially if you have not previously had any form of moss control. The moss will need to be removed at this time of the year to allow for a good quality lawn to be achieved during the summer months. The second period of the year when moss can be successfully treated is in the early autumn. This can be necessary after a wet summer and will allow the lawn to be in the best possible condition at the start of the following year.