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 October 15, 2016


My yard has a lot of shade.  In the past several years I have had an invasion of moss, especially in the more shady areas.  How do I get rid of it?


Answer Why do you want to get rid of it? Moss is an excellent ground cover and requires very little care.  It can be walked on, played on, doesn’t need supplemental watering, although it would like some.  If you have shade, you aren’t going to have grass. If you still want to rid yourself of it, solve the reason you have it. Moss thrives in compacted soil that is moist and in the shade and typically the soil is quite acidic. If you have all of the above, learn to like moss.    

 October 10, 2015

QuestionI recently read your reply to individual concerning grass under shade tree suggesting they "establish a moss garden".  We have a good patch of moss, how can I encourage the growth and spread of the moss?


AnswerWe are getting a bit late in the season to start moving moss, but you have two options which work well in the spring and late summer/early fall.  You can transplant some moss or divide what you have and replant or you can mix up a slurry of moss.  Take an old blender and mix up equal parts of moss and beer or buttermilk.  Add a tablespoon of dried clay used for making ceramics (found at most craft stores) and then create a slurry.  Pour that on compacted soil in the shade and keep it moist. It should sprout and begin to spread.  

 (November 2012)

QuestionYour article on growing moss a few weeks ago was very good, but you failed to address how to get rid of the stuff that we do not want and is taking over my yard. I have tried digging up the moss, lime, covered with tarp, even round up to no avail. Any suggestions or helpful hints??


Answer  kill moss, you have to correct the reason you have it--liming acidic soil will help if your soil is acidic, but look at compaction--aerate if it is; shade-- limb up trees to get more light; and moisture issues--correct poor drainage. If you have all of the situations that cause moss, quit fighting it and embrace it!

 (June 2006)

QuestionA good friend of mine has moss in his yard and its killing the grass. Also, in his yard are three large oak trees. The lawn man had soil tested and the tests came back that they needed to add lime. Lime was added but the moss persists. They even went so far as to add about 4inches of topsoil before they added the lime. I suggested that he (aerate) by working gypsum into the soil. Then I wasn't so sure, thought I better ask you.

 AnswerMoss can be present if you have any of the following conditions: heavy shade, compacted soil, acidic pH and/or moisture problems. You need to solve all the problems to get rid of moss. Chances are good that the moss is not killing the grass--the lack of sunlight is. The moss is simply coming in to take over bare space---a good idea in my opinion. Growing grass in the shade is never easy. IF he truly dislikes the moss, try growing a groundcover that likes shade. It should be more competitive with the shade than grass. If you want a lawn look alike, try mondo grass. It is a low growing groundcover and you only have to mow it once a year. It won't tolerate high traffic, but put down some stepping stones to handle that.

 (March 2005)

QuestionWe have a thirty ear old pin oak tree in our front yard. There isn’t a lot of sun under the tree, and as the years have gone by, there is less and less Bermuda grass. The ground is covered in green moss. What can we do to get the grass growing again and get rid of the moss?


AnswerGrowing grass underneath a large shade tree can be difficult, if not impossible. First, do you need grass everywhere in the yard? You may want to attempt grass in the areas where shade is not so intense, and let the moss or other groundcover grow where the shade is deepest. Zoysia grass, turf-type tall fescue, or for central and southern Arkansas—Centipede and St. Augustine, will all tolerate more shade than Bermuda, but all will need some filtered light to grow. Have the soil tested to determine the pH and fertility levels, and then assess the situation. Trees and shade are great—especially in the summer, so I would never advocate removing them to grow grass. I personally wish we grew more moss, but not everyone would agree with me!

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