Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants but are not parasitic. While this may sound like a harmless relationship, epiphytes like moss may not cause harm to other plants in your yard, but this carpet-like plant is notorious for crowding out the opportunity for healthy grass to take root.
In the Pacific Northwest, damp and shady conditions foster the perfect breeding grounds for moss to grow — where grass is thin or not present. Your best defense against moss growth is a full, healthy lawn. But when moss does find its way into unwanted areas of your yard, Mike Bell, owner of Spring-Green Lawn Care, and his experienced team of lawn care professionals can help.
Mike says moss is most often the result of a lawn that is not full and healthy. “If you have a lawn that is well taken care of through fertilization, weed control and aeration, you crowd out the opportunity for moss to take over,” he explains.
A lawn that is lacking in good health helps create the ideal environment for moss to take hold. And after a particularly dry summer, your lawn may be suffering. With the darker, rainier days of winter ahead, moss is most likely creeping in right under your nose.
“A lot of lawns died this summer because of the drought,” Mike says. “Those are areas where moss is an opportunist; it will be one of the first things to come in.” Because moss grows in before grass has a chance to, Mike says it crowds out the opportunity for your lawn to recover on its own. “If there’s bare ground or sparse turf, the moss will try to grow in those areas,” Mike explains.
To combat this, Mike says removing the moss alone is not enough — you need to aerate and over seed the affected areas in order to stimulate new lawn growth, and there’s no better time to do this than in the spring, once the soil begins to warm up.
After unwanted moss has been killed by Spring-Green, aeration and over seeding allows new, healthy grass to take root in the areas where moss has been removed, ensuring that your lawn has its best chance for recovery.
Once your lawn is healthy again, Mike says preventative care is key to inhibiting future moss growth. Factors to consider include: poor drainage, too much shade, low soil fertility, compact soil, and too much soil acidity.
Mike says acidic soil levels are common in this region. Luckily, a simple application of lime can help balance the pH of your soil. While the lime itself does not prevent the growth of moss, the lime application works together with fertilizers, creating an optimal environment for healthy grass growth. “Lime breaks down with the fertilizer we put down, allowing the grass roots to take better hold,” Mike explains. If you want to take preventative measures against future moss growth — or just want to ensure the health of your lawn — an annual lime application is a great way to do this.
You can learn more about moss growth, best practices for healthy lawns and other lawn care information by visiting Spring-Green.com. Have a moss problem you want to nip in the bud? Contact Mike Bell or one of his team members to schedule a consultation by calling 360-438-2885.While removing moss from your once-manicured lawn is likely to make your priority list, Mike says moss growth in other parts of your yard is less worrisome. “A lot of people get worried about moss growing on the sides of their trees or branches,” Mike explains, “but it doesn’t harm the tree or shrub; It is an epiphyte drawing in sustenance from the air and water.”
Spring-Green Lawn Care
Mike Bell, Owner
360-438-2885 | www.spring-green.com