How To Kill Lawn Moss With Dish Soap
Moss is a primitive plant that reproduces by spores. It is a thick mat of tiny green leaves and threadlike stems. Moss grows on wood, bare soil, rocks and any other surface where moist, shady conditions are present. Moss does not kill grass, and it produces its own food. But it is an indicator of poor conditions that need to be addressed for a lawn to be healthy and moss-free. Once the cultural factors are fixed that caused the moss to appear, the moss can be eradicated using a simple solution of water and dish soap.
Raise soil pH to make the soil more favorable to growing grass and less favorable for moss. Add lime to the soil with a lawn spreader according to the package instructions to make the soil less acidic.
Improve the drainage in the lawn. Aerate the soil to improve air circulation. Add soil or dig trenches to get water to drain off of the lawn into a designated area. Less standing water will mean less moisture for the moss.
Fertilize the lawn. Have the soil tested by a local university extension to determine what nutrients are lacking. Fertilize the lawn with the correct fertilizer for your soil test according to the package instructions.
Reduce watering. Water the grass only when it looks like it needs water, rather than on a set schedule. This will keep excess water from collecting in the soil.
Rake up the dead moss once it turns brown or yellow. If more moss appears, repeat the treatment until it stops returning.
Try An Organic Solution
For homeowners who are loath to use synthetic chemicals, there are several very effective organic, non-toxic remedies you can try. For example, you can fill a garden sprayer with 2 gallons of lukewarm water and mix in a box of baking soda, then spray this solution on the patches of moss.
Another remedy is to mix ordinary dish soap and water in a garden sprayer . This mixture will quickly kill moss.
Finally, there are commercial horticultural soaps, such as Safer brand, that will also kill moss.
The Spruce / Steven Merkel
How Do I Kill Moss In My Yard
Dont use moss-killing products you find on the shelf. These products wont truly work because while they may eradicate the issue for a season chemicals arent actually correcting the problems in your lawn.
The key to killing moss is correcting the environmental obstacles step-by-step, and were here to guide you through that process.
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Easy Natural Moss Killer For Lawns
Here are some of the best methods of how to kill moss naturally.
Using Baking Soda
Baking soda is great at controlling moss growth in the yard. And heres how to use it:
Make sure you wear a pair of gloves before handling the mixture. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking powder, to one gallon of water. This ratio will change, depending on the quantity and density of the moss.
For a larger area of moss, take it up a notch and mix 8 tablespoons of baking soda, to one quart of water. If necessary, you can also apply the baking soda directly to a high moss-infested area.
Check the area frequently and remove the dead moss. For maximum effect, baking soda will need to be applied between 2 and 3 times a week.
Its also best to apply baking soda in the afternoons after the grass has dried.
Using Dish Soap
This method is super easy and works wonders.
Mix 2 ounces of dish soap with 2 gallons of water in a spray bottle and spray over the moss. Once applied the moss will change to an orange or brown color within 24 hours. As soon as it dries, you can rake up and remove the moss.
Scarification Step : Remove A Good Volume Of Moss
Using your chosen tool you should aim to remove a good volume of moss and thatch, setting the blades/tines so that they only just brush the soil surface. You should not aim to remove all of the moss instead rake until you can start to see some soil beneath, while still leaving plenty of grass cover which will then be able to spread out and thicken up where the moss used to be.
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Raise The Ph Of Your Soil
Moss loves acidic soil. Your soil could be low on the pH scale, causing a healthy environment for moss. Adding lime to the area will help raise the pH, making it less hospitable to moss.When you add dolomitic limestone to the lawn, its also full of calcium and magnesium. While they dont necessarily fight moss itself, they will provide a healthy soil base for the grass you plant in the future.Learn more about the importance of lawn pH here.
What Can Cause Moss In The Lawn
While moss is often purposefully used for decoration around the garden, its appearance in the lawn may not be a good sign. It could signal a more serious problem, such as soil compaction or lack of nutrients. Still, moss acts pretty much like any other lawn weed it feeds, grows and spreads and will continue to do it until its stopped.
Most common causes for moss growing in lawns:
- Insufficient sunlight makes moss thrive and can weaken the grass.
- Highly acidic soil is favoured by moss, but some species will grow just fine in alkaline soil, too. Turfgrass, on the other hand, usually prefers a more neutral soil.
- Poor soil drainage can most commonly result from clay dominating the soils composition, but regardless, this can easily lead to the grounds compaction.
- Improper lawn maintenance like mowing the grass way too low, skipping on nourishing with fertiliser or repairing the lawn through overseeding.
- Weak or missing lawn grass Some of the previously mentioned factors could be responsible for thinning blades or entire bald patches appearing in the lawn. The former are often overtaken by moss, which establishes quickly and starts spreading as the grass lingers.
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Good Timing & Lawn Recovery
Moss produces spores generally in April. In Eastbourne it will be early, in Lanark itll be late and in Malvern the middle part of the month as a rule, but not guaranteed! It spores again in September. Therefore, doing the business before sporing, if possible is generally a good idea.
If possible can be a problem though. When performing any invasive treatment to the lawn we need the lawn to be able to recover and repair itself in as short a time as possible afterward. If it doesnt then you may swap a weed problem for your moss problem! Not a good idea, so this means warmth, fertiliser and moisture must be available to get the grass recovering.
Therefore, leaving the raking until early to mid April allows things to warm up a little. There is usually plenty of moisture around and the timing will be right for a fertiliser application afterwards. Though the raking out shouldnt commence until things have warmed up on the basis youll want to over seed as soon as possible afterwards, any application of moss killers can be done several weeks before raking commences.
In autumn, just wait until the rains start. This will fire off the moss but will also mean the grass can recover with the rain and September sun.
How Dish Soap Can Kill Unwanted Moss In Your Lawn
Kelly Burke is a professional turf manager for a manicured corporate campus in New England. He is accredited in organic land care and is a licensed pesticide applicator. He formerly managed the turfgrass as a golf course superintendent and has held several senior management positions at private country clubs overseeing high maintenance lawns.
The Spruce / Almar Creative
Moss can be a decorative ground cover when it grows where it’s wanted, or it can be considered a nuisance weed when its thick mat of tiny green leaves and threadlike stems are unwanted. Though moss won’t kill your grass, it can leave your lawn looking splotchy and uneven. Luckily, there are a few solutions to manage moss.
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Improve Drainage In Your Lawn
Trying to find ways to prevent future moss in your lawn?
Then sorting out the soil drainage in your lawn is an important prevention method.
Moss thrives in soils with poor drainage. When your yard receives heavy rain, watch where the rainwater collects in and around your lawn. In sections where drainage is poor, use a spade to level the soil and grass.
It might be worthwhile installing a catch basin or drain tiles in particular areas. This is a great method for channeling the water where you want it to go. It will require some heavy lifting, but as soon as its done, your soil drainage problems will be sorted.
Alternatively, you can apply a fork throughout your lawn or dig tiny holes an inch deep to channel excess water.
Shade Spring Adjustable Metal Rake
If youre looking for a user-friendly rake, this is the one!
It comes with an adjustable, rubber handle, making it easier to hold. The zinc layer on the surface of the rake improves its durability and decreases rusting.
- Easy to use for all ages.
- Comes with a pair of gloves.
- As it goes with any raking it will require some good old elbow grease!
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Are There Any Benefits To Having Moss In Your Lawn
In Japanese garden ideas, moss lawns are held in high esteem and if youve ever seen a healthy moss lawn, you will understand why. There are mosses to suit all sorts of situations, including poor soil, shallow soil, and sloping gardens, but most mosses thrive in moist, acidic soil in shade or semi-shade.
As well as having great color and texture, walking on them barefoot is heaven. Walking on mosses is actually good for them, helping them to attach to the surfaces where they are growing, says moss expert Annie Martin, who landscapes with moss in North Carolina.
If you decide to welcome the weeds and grow a moss lawn instead, there’s no mowing required and unless we have a very dry summer no watering either. This means that a moss lawn can be better for an eco friendly garden than grass.
Lawn mowers create 5% of air pollution in the U.S. and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that 30-60% of urban fresh water is used on lawns.
As an alternative to grass, mosses are also great at filtering air pollution, they tolerate very low temperatures, provide a habitat for wildlife, and are great for tricky sites. If the area stays soggy, mosses can help resolve puddling issues, says Annie Martin in her book The Magical World of Moss Gardening . On steep hillsides with slopes that make maintenance difficult, mosses can hold the soil in place.
Last but not least, unlike grasses, they look great all year, remaining lush and vivid green all winter.
Use A Natural Moss Killer
There are a number of natural moss killing methods the two best ones use either bicarbonate of soda or dish soap. These homemade techniques can be surprisingly effective at getting rid of moss, especially if your grass is otherwise quite healthy.
- If using baking soda, add three tablespoons to a litre of water. Mix the solution together, dissolving the baking soda, and add it to a spray bottle.
- If using dish soap, add 25mL to a litre of water, mix the dish soap into the liquid, and add it to a spray bottle.
Wait until the grass is completely dry, and you have no rain forecast for the next 24-48 hours. Then, no matter which method you have chosen, spray the liquid liberally over the moss on your lawn.
Wait around two weeks for the moss to die completely. If the moss still looks green after a few days, consider applying the solution again, with up to double the amount of baking soda or dish soap as before.
Once the moss has turned brown and died, its important to rake it away, and get rid of the dead moss. Then, youll need to use some of the methods weve discussed below to prevent the moss from returning to your lawn.
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Is Your Lawn Draining Properly
A mat of moss covering your lawn could indicate poor drainage. Moss loves a moist environment. Also, if poor drainage is inhibiting healthy turf growth, moss can grow in the patchy areas where the turf is thin. To get rid of moss in your lawn, you need to resolve drainage issues.
Poor drainage may have several causes. First, the type of soil may not lend itself to adequate water drainage. Clayey soils typically dont drain as well as sandier soils. If your soil is clayey, you can help improve the soil by aerating and adding humus or compost.
Heavy traffic is another contributing factor to poor drainage. If your lawn sees a lot of foot trafficfor example, from playing children or frequent garden partiesyour soil is likely compacted. To test for compacted soil, try to stick a shovel into your turf. If the soil is not compacted, the shovel should easily sink six to eight inches into the ground if it doesnt, then your soil needs to be aerated. While you are digging into your turf, you can also check the depth of your turf roots. Healthy grass should grow roots four to six inches into the ground. If the roots are shallower than that, your grass isnt healthy, and compacted soil is likely to blame. To aerate the soil, we recommend a core aerator, which you can rent at most garden or home-improvement stores.
How To Get Rid Of Moss In Lawns Using An Aerator
A second reason behind your poor drainage issue may be the soil compaction in your lawn. What this means is soil is so tightly packed that air, moisture, and nutrients are unable to flow through the ground properly. The best way to resolve the issue, in this case, is to use aeration to improve your soil and control moss.
This process involves poking strategic holes in the soil to allow your lawn to breathe easy once again. Not only does aerating allow for the flow of air and nutrients to move from one part of the yard to the next, but it also provides proper irrigation and limits excess moisture in the soil.
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When To Get Rid Of Moss
When your yards landscaping has large expanses of moss, and its more than you can easily remove in a session or two, its probably time to think about getting a handle on the moss situation. While moss isnt difficult to remove since it has shallow roots, youll have to work to improve your yards condition in the area where moss is growing in order to fully eradicate the problem.
Keeping Moss At Bay In The Long Term
Aerate your lawn
Moss growth is usually a symptom of compacted, poorly aerated soil. To fully alleviate moss in the long term it is advisable to regularly aerate your lawn paying particular attention to the areas it affects most.
Test your soils acidity levels
Test your soils pH level, if it is below 6 it is acidic. Moss often sneaks in when your soil becomes to acidic and grass nutrients are low. Spreading agricultural lime will control the acidity of your soil.
Let the light shine
Your lawn could well be restricted by the amount of shaded grass areas. Grass struggles to grow in areas of little sunlight whilst moss will thrive. Try to cut back large bushes or overhanging trees which are blocking the sun from shining on your grass. If this is not possible consider planting flowers and other plants that thrive in shaded areas to prevent moss from growing instead.
Watering your lawn
Moss loves moisture so water your lawn with care and avoid flooding the lawn. Try to avoid watering your lawn at night as it is cooler and the moisture may sit on the soil. If your lawn is naturally moist you should regularly aerate.
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Proper Watering Of The Lawn
You should never add too much or too little water to your lawn. You should only water your lawn when it is necessary to supplement the rainwater.
You can also use the rain gauge to measure the water level that your lawn receives and also look for the signs on your grass and water the lawn as per necessity.
Grass on your lawn can be thin during the drought period, and the lawn can also be moist if you water it too often both conditions provide an opportunity for the moss to grow on your lawn. So, for the prevention and getting rid of moss, proper irrigation strategies should be prepared.
Try A Natural Moss Killing Solution
If the idea of introducing herbicides to your lawn does not seem attractive, there could be a relatively safer alternative. We suggest you mix the following ingredients in a spray bottle to create a natural moss killing agent to use now and in the future, if the moss reappears:
- 1 tsp of baking soda or 1 tsp of mild dishwashing detergent
- 1 l of lukewarm water
These are the ingredients to tackle relatively small moss-covered areas. You can double or even triple the amounts if the invasive plant has spread throughout your entire lawn.
Its best to apply the solution in dry and sunny weather. Otherwise, the rain may wash away the solution before it has time to kill the moss. Aim to spray only the invasive plant.
The minimum time this homemade moss killer requires is 24 hours, but the most telling sign of success is the change in colour of the plant from green to yellow or brown. When you are sure the moss is dead, pull it out from the root, place it in a bag and throw it out a solid distance away from your lawn.
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