Maybe you are one of the people who actually wants a moss lawn but more than likely you are here because you have moss growing on your lawn and you want to know what causes it.
There are lots and lots of different reasons for moss to grow on your lawn and in this cause of moss in lawn article, I will cover some of the most basic causes that you may actually be able to fix.
If you are lucky there may be some pretty simple causes that you will be able to change and stop moss from taking over your lawn, if you are unlucky you may actually be fighting a lost cause and have only one choice and the choice of last resort would be to embrace moss and grow a moss lawn.
So I will now take a dive into the information I have learned over the years and let you know what I have discovered about what causes moss to grow in lawns so you don’t have to learn through years of experience as I have.
So it’s time to cross your fingers and hope that there is an easy solution below that will allow you to easily correct what is causing your moss problem.
The cause of moss in your lawn will be from a range of factors including acidic soil, too much shade on your lawn, drainage issues, compacted soil, the wrong mowing routine, lack of nutrients, or the wrong soil type, luckily all of these are issues you should be able to fix.
Table Of Contents
- 1 Is Moss A Sign Of Acidic Soil?
- 2 Does Shade Cause Moss To Grow?
- 3 Will A Waterlogged Lawn Cause Moss?
- 4 Does Compacted Soil Cause Moss?
- 5 Does Cutting Grass Too Short Cause Moss?
- 6 Does The Soil Type Contribute To Moss?
- 7 Does A Lack Of Nutrients In The Soil Cause Moss?
Is Moss A Sign Of Acidic Soil?
Moss is an unwanted weed for most people.
If it’s growing on a tree stump or a wall it’s probably not going to be much of an issue for you however if it starts to take over your lawn then it can become a problem.
Moss will grow in practically any sort of soil conditions as it is an invasive weed and it does actually prefer acidic soil but this does not necessarily make moss growing a sign of acidic soil as it will also thrive if you have alkaline soil.
If you have moss growing in your lawn then I wouldn’t take it as a signal you have acidic soil you should take it as a signal that your soil is not in an ideal condition for grass to thrive.
If you suspect your lawn has become acidic or alkaline the only way to be sure is to test the pH Soil of your lawn with a home test or through a professional company.
If you have an alkaline lawn the fix would be to add a sulfur lawn product or if possible mix organic material into the soil such as wood chips, moss, or grass clippings.
Does Shade Cause Moss To Grow?
If your lawn does end up with quite a lot of shade it will not cause moss to grow but if you already have a moss problem it will help it to take over your lawn.
Moss being a plant, would actually prefer to be under the sun but it is able to adapt to shaded conditions better than grass can.
When moss starts to take over your lawn it is a signal that the conditions are not perfect for grass because if you have conditions that are perfect for grass the grass will be thick and thriving which makes it more difficult for moss to start growing and compete for space.
If you do have a thriving moss problem then having a shaded lawn will definitely be a contributing factor that you can hopefully fix.
So you have lots of shade on your lawn and you think it is a contributing factor to the moss that is growing in your lawn?
The solution could be quite simple, make less shade on your lawn.
If you have overhanging trees or large bushes you should prune them back or chop them down completely.
If the problem is a building or other permanent structure you will have to accept the shade and improve the condition of the soil and eliminate every other factor that could be a cause of moss in your lawn.
Will A Waterlogged Lawn Cause Moss?
A waterlogged lawn is a problem that could enable the condition of your lawn to deteriorate into a lawn that has patchy and bare areas and this would be a condition that could enable moss to grow into these bare patches.
Moss does tend to thrive in damp conditions so if you have a permanently damp lawn this would make it a prime area for moss to take over, however, if your lawn is waterlogged and underwater this is not good for any plants.
When your lawn is waterlogged the condition of the grass will quickly deteriorate and if it is underwater for long enough the grass will completely die and this is a disaster in the fight against moss.
So you have a lawn that gets waterlogged and you think this may be a contributing factor that is causing moss in your lawn.
The solution is quite simple, you have to fix the drainage of your lawn.
The simplest fix would be to use a garden pitchfork and make lots of deep holes in the areas that are affected or if you have an aeration tool this would be an ideal way to improve the drainage of your lawn to prevent a moss problem.
Does Compacted Soil Cause Moss?
If the soil on your lawn has become compacted this will lead to your grass becoming unhealthy, and unhealthy grass can cause moss to invade and take over your lawn.
When your soil has become compacted from either having a soil type that is prone to compaction or maybe from kids playing on your lawn it all leads to the same problems from having compacted soil.
If your soil has become compacted it won’t be able to drain water efficiently or have any sort of airflow that grass actually requires to thrive.
Water and air do have to be able to circulate around your grass in order for the required nutrients to get down to the root system where it is needed most. If your lawn grass cannot get the required nutrients because of compaction it will become unhealthy and that’s when a moss problem can arise.
If your soil is compacted and you suspect this is causing moss to grow then the solution is to make it not compacted.
The easiest way to stop your lawn from being compacted is to aerate it with a core aerator.
A core aerator will rip out little cores (just like apple cores) and this will allow the soil to spread out and become less compacted.
Another option would be to use a scarifying machine and set it to scar as deeply as possible and this should help alleviate the compaction problem.
Does Cutting Grass Too Short Cause Moss?
Cutting your grass too short could weaken your grass and allow moss to invade your lawn.
You may have noticed the recurring theme in this article of things that cause moss in your lawn is that generally, they can only occur when your grass or soil is not in the ideal condition for grass.
It all depends on the variety of grass on your lawn and your local climate on what the best cutting height for your grass is.
It is best to mow your grass to different heights at different times of the season, but, if you are a person who thinks scalping a lawn when you cut it so you have to mow it less often is a good idea you shouldn’t be surprised when moss starts to take over your lawn.
If you have moss growing on your lawn it could be partially caused by you not following a mowing routine that is most beneficial to grass.
Whatever the cause of moss in your lawn, changing your mowing routine is a good way to combat it.
To Combat a moss problem you should keep your lawn at least 1 inch high or even higher, this is because moss does not grow high so if you have tall grass that should prevent moss getting the light it requires and dying away.
Does The Soil Type Contribute To Moss?
Depending on the soil type you have under your lawn it could be a contributing factor to moss growing in your grass.
Whilst soil type is not a direct factor that could cause moss, it could definitely contribute to making conditions that are ideal for moss to grow.
The soil type that could enable conditions that are ideal for moss would be clay soil.
This is because clay soil is more prone to becoming compacted and grass does not do well in compacted soil which could leave a gap for the moss to take over.
If you have clay soil it will probably become compacted over time even if no one tramples on it very often, and when it’s compacted it will be more prone to waterlogging and draining issues. You better be prepared to do some regular work on it to keep it in good condition for grass.
If you have clay soil then you will have to follow an annual routine or possibly a bi-annual routine to keep it in good condition for grass to grow and keep moss and other weeds away.
So this fix is to have a strict aerating routine for your lawn, with clay soil I would recommend you use a good quality core aerator once or twice per year and that should keep any compaction or drainage issues at bay.
Does A Lack Of Nutrients In The Soil Cause Moss?
If your soil is suffering from a lack of nutrients then that could definitely be a major factor that is causing moss to grow in your lawn.
To keep your grass growing nice healthy and lush green there have to be sufficient nutrients in the soil otherwise your grass will suffer and its when grass isn’t in tip-top condition that is when moss can start to grow and even take over your lawn.
If your soil is lacking in nutrients this could be caused by a number of factors such as heavy rain washing nutrients out, years and years of growth with no effort to replace nutrients, or just having bad soil.
Luckily this is one of the easiest problems to fix.
So you have moss growing in your lawn and you strongly suspect the cause of it is a lack of nutrients in your soil, how do you fix it?
The easiest way to solve a lack of nutrients in your soil is to use fertilizer and you should probably plan a routine to apply it a few times per year.
Also, I would recommend you use a mulching mower to mulch your grass clippings back into your lawn as this is just like a natural fertilizer.