and algae are present in lawns because conditions are not suitable
for growing a dense, healthy turf. There are 13,000 or more mosses
which constitute a large collection of lower plant life. Mosses
are adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions--some grow
well in dry areas, while other grows best in bog-like habitats.
Algae are fresh-water plants and are sometimes mistaken for moss
when found growing in moist areas under trees.
are small, leafy plants, which appear to be a mass of fine stems.
They vary greatly in size and do not have roots, but rather form
root-like filaments that attach to soil and other substratum.
of moss are associated with low fertility, poor drainage, too much
shade, soil compaction, wet conditions, poor air circulation or
a combination of these factors. Contrary to popular opinion, low
soil pH is seldom responsible for moss invasion. Most moss species
grow under a wide range of soil pH--however, some appear to be associated
with acid and others with alkaline conditions. An application of
agricultural lime is not likely to solve a moss problem; however,
applying hydrated lime may cause injury by dehydrating or burning
the moss plant.
only permanent control of moss consists of correcting the conditions
unfavorable for grass growth.
Maintain Good Soil Fertility--Make a soil test to determine
corrective lime and fertilizer applications necessary to raise
the soil fertility level to a desirable level. Apply maintenance
fertilizer as needed (see GreenShare Factsheet on Developing
a Fertility Program for Lawns for more information).
Drainage--Soils that are constantly wet because of poor drainage
should be contoured so that water will drain away from the lawn.
In some lawns, tile drainage may be necessary to correct wet conditions.
Tile may be ineffective in heavy soils unless special precautions
are taken to facilitate water movement to the tile system.
for More Light--In
some cases a choice between trees and a good lawn must be made.
If the lawn is completely shaded, removal of some of the least
desirable trees may be the only answer in order to grow a good
turf. Removal of low branches and thinning the crown of the trees
may also allow enough light to reach the ground surface.
If sufficient limbs cannot be removed to provide for direct sunlight,
a shade-tolerant grass may need to be planted. The fine fescues--Pennlawn,
Biljart (C-26), common creeping red, chewings, etc.-- are best
adapted to shade. Glade, A-34, Nuggett, Bristol and Birka Kentucky
bluegrasses are more shade-tolerant than most other Kentucky bluegrasses.
A Kentucky bluegrass-fine fescue mixture is preferred for shaded
Compacted Soil--Compacted soil may be loosened by cultivation
and addition of large amounts of organic matter if the lawn is
to be renovated. Aerification with a machine that removes plugs
of soil will help a lawn where it is undesirable to till the soil
Air Circulation--Low branched trees may be the cause of poor
air circulation, as well as dense shade. Lawns surrounded by buildings
and high vegetation with limbs close to the ground will require
considerable effort to provide adequate air circulation to grow
a good lawn.
Sulfate- Apply 10 pounds per 1,000 sq. feet directly to the
area when the moss is actively growing. Treatment of dormant moss
will not be effective. Do not water in. Some grass burn is likely,
but will not be permanent.
Sulfate- Dissolve three level tablespoons of powdered copper
sulfate in five gallons of water and apply to 1,000 square feet.
Copper sulfate will permanently stain clothes and is difficult
to remove from skin. Wear gloves and old clothes when using this
control of mosses is temporary at best and reinfestation will occur
unless adverse conditions are corrected.
from David P. Martin and Keith J. Karnok, Ohio State University