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Moss – Symptom of a Stressed Lawn

Posted on January 8th, 2009 by Andy


Seattle’s wet winters provide the ideal growth conditions for moss in lawns.  For many homeowners, moss is an unwelcome annoyance in their little patch of green

Too much shade

Most grass varieties do not like shade, even “shade-tolerant” varieties.

Pruning overhanging trees and shrubs may increase some sunlight on the lawn, but this is generally a losing battle, and may ultimately damage the trees and shrubs.

Why not replace the shady lawn with shade-tolerant ground covers or a shade garden? Many Western Washington native plants like wild strawberry, ferms and bunchberry, to name a few, are perfect for shady spots in our region.

Poor soil drainage/soil compaction

Think of all the footsteps that have walked over your lawn. Every step compacts the soil beneath lawn, and ultimately water and fertilizer can’t reach the grass roots. Give your lawn a lift by aerating it.

Core aeration, followed by topdressing, loosens soil and improves drainage.  How does it work?  Core aerators remove small soil plugs or cores from the lawn, allowing water, oxygen, fertilizers, and other nutrients to penetrate the soil and better reach the grass roots.

Topdressing is the process of adding a thin layer (1/8 to 1/4 inch) of soil or compost over the aerated lawn.  Over time, topdressing benefits the lawn by improving the fertility and drainage of the underlying soil.

Low fertility

Moderate lawn fertilization during appropriate seasons will improve the health of the lawn, which promotes denser grass cover and allows the grass to out-compete moss and weeds.  Be sure to use a “natural organic” or “slow-release” release fertilizer to reduce leaching or runoff into our local streams.

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