The big, mossy questions

In the life of gardeners there are several re-occurring questions. A few have no hard and fast answer or solution. Most centre on weed control and pests.With most weeds and pests, the key to solving the problem usually starts with prevention, identification, treatment, and follow up.It sounds simple but it isn't.Often I find you have to take a zen approach and take the good with the bad.

How can I get rid of moss? is an age-old query.My quick responseto most folks is to try and embrace your moss.

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The conundrum is that mosses love shade, damp acidic soil and poor drainage and that lawns hate shade, damp acidic soil and poor drainage.

Moss is in! Do you know that fine garden centres sell it, and that other industrious "Martha" types try to make it? Perhaps instead of being the bane of your existence, it can be your joy.It is green, after all, and it certainly cuts down on the mowing.

If you do want to try and manage the moss in your lawn, remember that moss does not replace grass.It fills in gaps that are open because patches of your grass are doing poorly. There are a few conditions that moss is particularly drawn to.

You will find moss in shady areas, sites where the pH or fertility of the soil is low and sites with poor drainage. You may also find moss in sites where there has been a lot of compaction. If your moss is doing well, you need to change the growing conditions of your site. This is where a lot of people learn to enjoy moss!

If you would like to grow grass again in your mossy areas, here is a plan of attack.

Remove the moss. Rake it out of the lawn or apply one of these biodegradable moss-killing products.Potassium salts of fatty acid -this is a natural product that is mixed with water. Spray it on lawns, roofs and other surfaces. It doesn't stain and you can use it on concrete too.Ferrous sulphate, sometimes known as iron sulphate, is a bit corrosive, so don't use it on concrete, stucco or wood.

Take a look at your soil conditions and try to improve them. Usually this involves liming, fertilizing, improving your drainage and aerating.You want to try to break up compaction if this is a problem you suffer from.

Shade is your enemy.If at all possible, it is prudent to remove elements that shade your mossy site.Pruning hedges, trying to open up tree canopies, selectively removing scrub trees, or replacing solid fence boards with something like lattice that lets the light in, all help to bring in more sun.

Overseed the newly prepped area with shade-tolerant varieties of grass seeds. Every grass variety needs some amount of sun to grow, but there are special mixes for a shady lawn that include seed that is more tolerant to shade.

None of these remedies will completely eradicate moss.You need to keep raking your lawn, and repeating treatments of the biodegradable moss killer on a regular basis.

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@ Copyright Squamish Chief

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