Get rid of moss

How to Rake and Scarify for Moss and Thatch

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How to get rid of moss on your lawn?

Moss can really take away the look from your lawn leaving it spongey and wet looking! Moss loves to grow in moist and shaded areas. It can spread quickly to take over your lawn. We know moss produces spores during April and September. So to tackle the problem before it spreads follow these steps in early spring or late summer for a moss free lawn.

    1. Spread a chemical moss killer

At The Grass People we offer Feed, Weed & Mosskiller. This liquid is a combination of herbicide and moss killer. After spreading, the moss will die in approximately 2-3 weeks. Feed, Weed & Mosskiller will fertilise your grass giving it a great boost. It will also kill most common weeds such as dandelions and plantains over the same approximate 2-3 weeks.

    1. Remove existing moss

After the moss has gone black and died it is time to remove it by scarifying the lawn. Depending on the size of your garden you may wish to scarify with a spring tine rake for smaller lawns or an automated scarifier for larger lawns. An automated scarifier can be bought or hired. It will remove more material at a quicker pace than by hand. When raking by hand aim to rake in the one direction, then at slightly different angles to extract the remaining moss. After scarifying you may notice patches in your lawn, this is just where the moss was. These patches just need a little overseeding.

    1. Overseeding your lawn

Overseeding will fill in any bare patches in your garden from the moss removal and will fill out your grass. Consider what grass seed mixture you require. For families and pet owners we offer SUPERSTAR: Backlawn, for more ornamental looking lawns we have STATEMENT: Front Lawn or for shaded gardens we 2 seed mixtures: STEADFAST: Shade and SUPER STEADFAST: Ultra Shade.

Keeping Moss at Bay in the Long Term

  • Regular aeration
      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 soil’s acidity levels

Test your soil’s 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.

How to rid your lawn of Moss

Moss becomes most prevalent in Winter when there is additional moisture around and a lack of warmth to dry out surfaces.

What is Moss?

Mosses are small green non-vascular plants that grow in clumps. They are generally only a few centimetres tall with extremely thin leaves.

Moss enjoys conditions that are wet, shaded and compacted. It is important to understand that moss itself isn’t the problem, it is the favourable conditions that the moss enjoys growing in. Turf on the other hand, generally hates these conditions, so you need to act quick before the moss continues to spread.

How to remove Moss

If you are already plagued with Moss, then you will need to remove it to enable your lawn to repair and spread back into the affected area.

  • You can do so by physically removing it with a spade or rake, being sure to get underneath it and remove the roots from the ground as you do.
  • Moss Killer usually contains iron sulphate. Iron can be good for your lawn when it is deficient. But Moss doesn’t like it too much, so an application of iron sulphate will usually cause the moss to die off.
  • Mixing water and dish soap and spraying the Moss with it, is also another method often used to kill Moss.

How to ensure Moss stays away

The key is to focus on the cause of the problem, so that moss doesn’t keep growing back again.

Aeration – Aerating compacted ground will help the area drain better and allow oxygen and nutrients to the roots of your lawn allowing it to fight back against the Moss.

Improve drainage – If there are substantial drainage issues, you may need to look at putting in a drain or ag pipe to drain the water away and stop it from pooling.

Reduce shade – By reducing the amount of shade where possible, you will help the sun to dry the area out much quicker, which will ensure it doesn’t stay wet for long enough to be favourable for Moss to grow.

Check your soil pH – Make sure the area has a pH level optimum for your grass to grow. You may find an application of Lime is required if the soil is too acidic. Moss prefers acidic soils, but it will also grow fine in alkaline soils. Grass prefers a pH somewhere between 6 to 7.5.

After removing the Moss and addressing the causes of the problem, it is a good time to give your lawn a fertilise and encourage your grass to repair.

Check out the Lawn Solutions Australia lawn care page for more helpful tips here.

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MOSS OUT!® Spot Treater For Lawns & Flower Beds

To Spot Treat Moss in Lawns:
PREPARE THE LAWN: Apply anytime the lawn is moist and moss is actively growing. Treatment in fall or early spring is most effective. Mow the lawn to expose moss and remove clippings.

TREAT THE MOSS: For spot treatment, sprinkle granules over mossy areas in lawn. Use diagram as a guide for application rate. This container will treat up to 600 sq. ft of lawn. Immediately after sprinkling granules, water treated areas thoroughly. A gentle rain, even immediately after spot treatment will not significantly affect the moss-killing ability of this product. Wait several days until moss turns black and dies, then gently rake it out.

To Spot Treat Moss Around Ornamental Shrubs & Flower Beds:
Apply anytime moss is actively growing and the soil is moist. Sprinkle granules over mossy areas. See diagram for application rate. Immediately after sprinkling granules, water treated areas thoroughly. Wait several days then gently rake out dead moss.

IMPORTANT: This product will burn foliage if applied directly to flowers or ornamental shrubs. If contact occurs, use a hose to wash this product off these plants right away.

moss in flower bed


Moss grows because conditions it needs are present. Compacted, poorly draining, under-fertile soil that never or rarely dries out are these conditions.

In gardens, there are no chemicals for control of moss that won’t harm other plants. Your best option in flower, vegetable, and landscape beds is to scrape the moss off the soil surface using a hoe. Without real roots, it’s only growing on the surface and is easy to remove. Moss is not harmful to your lawn or garden, but it does indicate that there may be a drainage or soil compaction problem.

First I would have a soil test. It will tell you the soil type, the pH and the organic matter percentage. You don’t want to add lime to a soil that is already high in pH, above 7.5

MSU soil test self-mailer is $25, includes the postage to mail the sample to the lab. Some MSU Extension office sell the kits. Call yours to see if they have them-

Or purchase one here-

Once you know what your soil needs based on the test results, you can proceed. Scrap off as much moss as you can. Aerate the bed with a garden fork working around you perennials. Work in any organic amendments, like compost, avoid stepping on and compressing the soil. If lime was indicated as needed, work that in too. Especially your azaleas like acidic soil and lime can make the pH too high for them. Mulch any open areas with 2 inches deep mulch of wood chips, shredded bark or pine straw. Don’t pile mulch against plant stems. A completely covered soil surface, by plants and mulch, will reduce growth of weeds and moss. Extend any downspouts so they don’t empty into the bed. Redirect your lawn sprinklers if they hit this bed. If you water, do so early morning so beds have the best chance to dry..

If your soil is sticky clay, you may need a complete bed renovation in order to improve drainage by incorporating organic matter deep down in the soil. Here are details on renovation-

I hope this is helpful. Moss is not detrimental to plants, and some gardeners actual have moss gardens on purpose! Thanks for using our service.

When Moss Goes Bad

Q. I had a truckload of topsoil brought in to fill my raised beds. The beds are now covered with moss, as are some places where the topsoil wasn’t used. These areas get sun six to ten hours a day. How do I discourage the moss?

    —Linda in Troy (Northeastern), Pa

I have a problem in my vegetable garden with spreading moss. It is a raised bed with adequate sunlight. We’ve tried digging up the moss to no avail. I heard something somewhere about using cider vinegar. Any suggestions?

    —Zina in Newark, DE

I have moss covering my entire flower garden. It’s shaded for about half of the day, and the ground stays moist until late summer. I rake and pull the moss off, but it just grows back. How can I get rid of this stuff? Thank you—I listen to your program on WYSO 91.3 FM from Yellow Springs.

    —Marilyn in West Alexandria, Ohio

A. Moss doesn’t come in on topsoil (which is a meaningless term; next time get compost to fill those beds!). With few exceptions, moss doesn’t grow in sunny areas either; and I’m always suspicious when people use terms like “adequate” to describe how much light their plants are getting. An area with {quote} “adequate sunlight” is often adequate only in the mind of the gardener, who has never asked the poor plants how they feel about being banished to their Stygian depths.

So, the first thing to do is to take an honest look at the sunlight and airflow those beds are receiving. If you are incapable of taking an honest look, ask somebody else. Oh wait—I’ll do it for you. It’s dark as Hades in there! See what you can do to increase the sunlight and airflow: Cut back or remove brush and weedy growth just outside the area and thin out overhanging or air-blocking tree limbs—preferably over winter (the best and safest time to prune trees).

All of your plants (except the moss) will benefit. You’ll be amazed at how dramatic the response can be when you trim back and/or remove a few plants from a crowded space.

Also test the soil. Most mosses thrive in an acidic environment and sometimes adding a little wood ash or lime to raise a highly acidic soil closer to neutral can make problems like this go away. And most plants would appreciate a friendlier soil too. Just don’t use wood ash or lime near plants that need acidic soil, like azaleas, rhododendrons and blueberries. (Here’s a previous Question of the Week about using wood ash to raise soil pH.)

And be sure to let the area dry out completely between watering. Shady spots don’t generally need much supplemental water, and only your moss will be unhappy if you stop making it soggy in there. Here’s a very important previous Question of the Week about watering wisely.

Q. Conditions have been just right for moss to grow on the shady side of our roof. Is there anything that can be done to kill the moss and prevent it from ruining the roof?

    —Linda in Angelica NY

A. I doubt that it will ‘ruin the roof’, as moss has no roots to cause structural damage. I suggest you just stop looking at it—or look at it and enjoy it. I have moss on the roof over my office and it looks a heckuva lot nicer than the shingles it’s covering up. Moss will keep the shingles underneath a little moister, but on a sound roof that shouldn’t be a problem. If you feel you MUST do something, trim tree branches to increase the amount of sun that reaches the roof; but be aware that the rooms underneath will get hotter in the summer as a result and increase any air conditioning costs.

Q. We have moss growing between the cracks in our brick patio. Is there anything that can be applied to kill it off? Or do I just scrape it out?

    —Thomas in Annandale, VA

A. In case you haven’t noticed, we live on a pretty lively planet, Tom. Something is going to grow in those cracks; if not moss then weeds—which, unlike moss, do have roots that might eventually cause structural problems. Try and think of it as colorful green grout. Or spread some wood ash on the cracks (don’t use lime here) or use one of the specialized soaps sold for natural moss and algae control.

Q. The brick walk around my garden gets very little sun and is covered in moss, which makes it slippery. I’ve seen suggestions on the web for spraying it with Clorox or sprinkling it with baking soda; and I also purchased some insecticidal soap.

    —Sylvia in Philadelphia

A. Chlorine bleaches like Clorox are incredibly toxic to nearby plants, soil life, amphibians, and human lungs (chlorine was a popular and deadly trench gas during World War I). And when chlorine breaks down, it forms cancer-causing dioxins. So, that would be a ‘no’ to the Clorox, Sylvia. I like the baking soda, as its gritty texture would also make for surer footing; same with sand. Insecticidal soap is designed to smother insect pests, not to remove moss. You’d want to try one of the moss and algae removing soaps, which are made differently.

And, as we’ve been saying, increase sunlight to the area and spread some wood ash. You might also want to scrub those bricks really clean and then apply friction tape, which has a sandpaper-like consistency to its non-sticky side. I use it to keep the slipperiness factor down on the wood decking we have under some trees. It works great, and is available in rolls (like masking tape) at most hardware stores and home centers.

Q: I have cleaned off all my garden beds. One of them, after removing what needed to go, was mostly covered with green moss, very low, almost smooth stuff.

Needless to say, I was amazed at it all, wondering what made that occur. The area receives sun from noon throughout the rest of the day.

There is no evidence of that happening anywhere else in the garden area. Help!

—Curtis Sandrock, Hellertown

A: Moss can indicate several conditions in any garden situation:

•High acidity: A high pH, 5.0 to 5.5 is the preferred pH for growing moss. A simple soil test will determine the soil pH.

•Low fertility: Soil that is nutrient poor and/or unfertilized encourages moss growth.

•Soil compaction: Moss can easily grow in compacted areas where other plants will not survive.

•Shade: Moss needs shade — from buildings, trees or even the shade of a densely planted flowerbed.

•Moisture: Moss loves poor drainage, overwatering or even a wet season. All contribute to creating a moisture-rich environment.

•Thatch: In a lawn area, a thick layer of thatch makes healthy grass unlikely, shades the soil, and retains moisture. All this makes moss very comfortable.

•Wrong plant: Particularly in lawns, planting, sodding or sowing the wrong plant, i.e., Bluegrass needs sun; fescue does better in shade, produces a spotty lawn and bare ground where moss or weeds can get a foothold.

Are there remedies? Of course:

•Manual removal is the easiest method. Simple hoe or rake off the upper layer of the bed containing the moss. Light raking to aerate the soil and reduce compaction is the next step.

•Check and gradually adjust pH of the soil if it is too acidic. If the bed contains acid-loving plants, this would be counterproductive.

•Correct any drainage problems. Areas where the water ponds or the soil retains a lot of moisture may need grading adjustments or rain runoff redirected away from the area.

•Decrease shade by trimming back trees or shrubs, thinning densely planted beds.

•In lawns, aerate and dethatch problem areas, then reseed with a grass suited to the soil, light and traffic patterns of that area.

•Moss removal products — Mixtures containing iron, usually ferrous sulfate, are available. Select one that will not damage other plants in the area and apply only as directed.

Seed-starting needs continued

Last week I addressed some basics for seed starting. Water, heat and light are also important.

•Water: Seeds require even and consistently moist soil to germinate.

•Dry soil and soaking wet soil are both potentially fatal to seed-starting projects. In low humidity environments, place seed trays under domes or in clear plastic bags to retain moisture. Remove after the seeds germinate to discourage damping off. Damping off is a fungal problem that attacks seedlings causing them to wilt and die off.

•Heat: The first early seeds: peas, onions, leeks, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, for example, will grow well in cooler temperatures.

Other seeds, tomatoes and other heat-loving plants for example, definitely need some warmth to get going. Seed packets and general seed-starting guides indicate ideal temperatures. Lights and heating mats can be use to warm soils.

•Light: Not so critical in the beginning, except for those plants, like lettuce, that require light to germinate. However, once the seedlings emerge, they need light. That can be a sunny windowsill, a bright sunroom or a system of lights.

Catalog review

I’ve decided to start the annual review early. Also, although I love leafing through paper catalogs and supporting the U.S. Postal Service, online catalogs cut paper use, costs to suppliers and are easy to search. I list the website as well as the mailing address and phone number.

Grafted vegetable plants: The process can increase disease resistance, improve water uptake, and increase the quality, quantity or yield of vegetable plants without resorting to GMO (Genetically modified organisms). Territorial offers one eggplant variety (Prosperosa) and several tomatoes including combo plants (Brandywine/Grande Marzano or Sungold/Sweet Million). Not cheap ($7.50 to $13.50 per plant), the increased resistance to disease and increased yield may offset the price.

Check out the 30 or so varieties of garlic. I counted 48 lettuce varieties plus lettuce mixes, mesclun salad blends and European and Oriental greens. New peppers include Cute Stuff, a petite, apple-shaped stuffer, Jepeto, a prolific banana pepper and Hot Claw, unusual clusters of upward pointing, spicy hot, blood-red peppers.

The hellebore Jade Tiger, with double blooms in green and cream and plum highlights caught my attention.

Sue Kittek is a freelance garden writer. Send questions to Garden Keeper at [email protected] or mail: Garden Keeper, The Morning Call, P.O. Box 1260, Allentown, PA 18105.

This Week in the Garden

•Order catalogs or mark websites for new introductions.

•Organize and inventory seed-starting supplies.

•Check germination rate of stored seeds; replace those that perform badly with fresh seed.

•Check for heaved plants on days when there is no snow cover. Push them back into the soil.

•Get seeds for plants that will be started soon: pansies, snapdragons, some hardy perennials, onions, leeks, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and other cool-season crops.

•Use discarded Christmas trees as winter shelter for birds or cut boughs and use to cover tender perennials for added winter protection.

•Take cuttings of African violets and geraniums.

•Clean, sharpen, oil and store hand tools. Sand and oil wooden handles. Note tools that need replacing and repair damaged ones.

•Keep gutters, downspouts and walkways clear of fallen leaves. Rake, blow or mulch leaves on lawns to prevent mold problems that thrive in matted leaves.

•Store plant and pet safe de-icing material near doorways, porches or garages so that it is readily available when ice is a problem.

•Clear storm damage. Photograph damage for insurance claims and file promptly.

•Flag the edges of planting beds, delicate shrubs and/or trees. They will disappear during deep snows and can be damaged from salt runoff and piled-up snow.

•Protect plants from damage when removing holiday lighting. Check for damage or wear before storing any lights; discard damaged or broken items. Keep foot traffic on perennial beds to a minimum.

How to get rid of moss in your garden


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How To Get Rid Of Moss From Paver Patios + Driveways + Walkways {Guide + Tips}


Most folks living in Southern California do not have a lot of issues with moss growing on their property, but it does happen. Even in areas with warm, dry climates — like San Diego County and Orange County — there are spots that are prone to moss. These moss-prone areas might be near the coast, in shady spots under trees or in areas with excessive moisture from a leak or overwatering.

If you have moss growing on your paving stone patios, driveway or walkway, it can be both visually unappealing and a slipping or tripping hazard. Unless you happen to be going for a rustic, old-world look, you most likely want to get rid of moss as soon as possible.

There are several ways to remove moss from pavers and other surfaces, including both natural and not-so-natural options. Here are eight moss removal tricks you can use to keep your paving stones looking beautiful. As an added bonus, these tips for getting rid of moss can also be used on rocks, concrete and bricks.

Here are 8 tips to get rid of moss…

Remove Moss Tip #1: Sunlight

The easiest, least expensive and most natural way to get rid of moss is to expose it to sunlight. Move cars and patio furniture, prune nearby trees and shrubs, and let the sunshine in to directly shine on the mold. Moss does not grow in sun-soaked, dry areas, so this may be the only solution you need.

Remove Moss Tip #2: Repair Leaks and Adjust Irrigation

If your moss is caused by a leaky faucet, broken pipe or errant sprinkler heads, make the necessary repairs and adjustments to stop the collection of moisture in the area. This will also put you back in line with San Diego’s and California’s mandatory restrictions for water use, which include immediately repairing leaks and avoiding runoff.

Remove Moss Tip #3: Boiling Water

Much like weeds growing in driveway cracks, the moss on your paving stone walkway or patio can be tamed by pouring boiling water over it. This is another natural option that will have little to no effect on desirable plants nearby. You will likely need to follow up the boiling water bath with a good scrub with a deck brush or a stiff broom.

Remove Moss Tip #4: Vinegar

Vinegar is a popular choice for naturally getting rid of unwanted weeds and an also be used to kill moss. When using this natural option, you may find that you need to treat the area multiple times to achieve the desired result. You may also find that vinegar is just not strong enough to fix your moss issue, but it is a good option to try before moving to chemical-based solutions.

To treat your moss with vinegar, mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Saturate the area well, while being careful to not get the vinegar on the leaves of desirable plants near the treatment area. Allow the mixture to work into the paving stones and joints for at least 15 minutes, and then use a deck brush or stiff push broom to scrub the area. You can follow this with hosing the area down with water, if needed.

Remove Moss Tip #5: Power Washing

Another natural option is to use a power washer to get rid of paving stone moss. This method may or not be effective in ridding you of your moss problem and uses a lot of water, so this should not be the first option you try. If you do opt for power washing, you may need to replace joint sand between your pavers if it is washed away in the process. Cleaning and sealing your pavers is a great way to remove moss and restore the original appearance of your paving stones.

Remove Moss Tip #6: Baking Soda

Baking soda is another natural option that is good to try before moving to chemical means, but may or may not be effective enough on its own. This partly depends on how serious your moss issue is at the time of treatment.

To use baking soda to remove the moss from your paving stone driveway, walkway or patio, sprinkle it generously over the moss. Leave it overnight, and then use a push broom or deck brush to first remove the baking soda, and then to scrub the area to remove the moss.

Remove Moss Tip #7: Bleach

As we move away from natural options and into stronger solutions, bleach is one that you can try. If you choose to use bleach to remove moss, be sure to keep children and pets away from the treatment area during and immediately after you treat it. You will also want to be careful not to get bleach on desirable plants and to be very careful when rinsing the area to avoid bleach running off into other areas.

It is best to scrub the area with a deck brush or stiff broom before applying your bleach solution. You can then mix equal parts bleach and water in a spray bottle or larger sprayer and treat the area. Leave the bleach solution on the area for at least 15 minutes, and then scrub the area again and rinse with water. Whether you use the bleach from your laundry room or a moss-killing bleach you can buy at your local home improvement store or garden center, be sure to wear protective eyewear and gloves when working with bleach.

Remove Moss Tip #8: Commercial Moss Killers

When all else fails, it may be time to bring out the bigger guns, which, in this case, are commercial moss killers specifically designed to get rid of moss. There are many options available, including some that are known carcinogens and respiratory irritants. According to Alternatives: A Washington Toxics Coalition Fact Sheet published by the Washington Toxics Coalition, here are a few of the least-toxic, commercial moss killers available:

  • Safer Moss & Algae Killer and Surface Cleaner II
  • Bayer Advanced 2-in-1 Moss & Algae Killer
  • Worry Free Moss & Algae Control
  • St. Gabriel Laboratories Moss Killer

Install-It-Direct Can Help

If you have questions or need additional tips for keeping your paving stones moss free, give us a call. You can also join our mailing list to receive landscaping ideas, yard care guides, outdoor entertaining tips and more.

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