Removing Moss from a Lawn

Moss in a lawn is a problem that will be experienced in most lawns at some point. It can look unsightly, make it look uneven and feel spongy under foot. There a numerous reasons for it and just as many ways to combat it. Moss is an indicator of poor growing conditions for the grass, if the grass is healthy then it will out compete the moss and it will cease to be a problem.

Therefore, the best way to combat moss is to improve the growing conditions for the grass. Grass can struggle for a number of reasons including, lack of nutrients, wetter than normal soil, too much shade, or too much foot traffic. So, feeding the lawn, improving drainage, increasing direct sunlight and reducing walking on it will all promote grass growth and reduce moss.

Removing the moss that is there can be done in a number of ways. It can be manually removed with a scarifier or if you have a small lawn then a light raking will work. Moss has a very shallow root system so will come loose easily when raked and leave the grass unharmed.

lawn scarify
A lawn that has just been scarified. The moss and other dead matter can be removed from the surface manually or by running over it with a lawn mower

There are also products that can be added to the lawn to combat moss. These can be non chemical in the form of a bacterium that is added to the lawn and will break down the moss, the most popular brand is Mo Bacter.

The chemical alternative is iron sulphate. This can be added in solid form, usually as part of a lawn care product including fertiliser and weedkiller, or it can be mixed into water and sprayed on the lawn. These products will turn the moss brown so it will then die or can be raked out easily. If iron sulphate gets onto a hard surface such as a patio then it will stain it so be careful and make sure you don’t walk it into the house!

The laws on iron sulphate usage are odd as technically it can not be legally sold as a moss killer. For this reason it is often labelled as a turf hardener but it will kill the moss.