Moss on your lawn: What’s the cause and how do you deal with it?

Moss on your lawn: What’s the cause and how do you deal with it?

Lawns are up to the individual’s preference, perhaps you like the look of moss on your lawn, and that is entirely up to you, if you are that person, this blog post is not intended for you. To some people, a tidy lawn is the centerpiece of their garden, their weekend pride. An invasion of moss is a threat to a perfectly neat lawn, and they would rather avoid it.

But it’s not just how it looks. For garden enthusiast lawn health is one of their top priorities, moss on a lawn can have an impact on the health of the lawn. This includes the fact that the grass growing alongside has to compete with the moss for space, water, and nutrients. As well as this, if the moss is left to its own devices, it is likely to spread and once it reaches summer, the moss can die off and leave bald patches on your lawn.

At some point, most people will struggle with moss on their lawn, it’s a strong plant that can thrive in lots of areas even in damp and dark conditions. Moss has been around for over 350 million years, and the modern day is no different. Moss can appear on unhealthy or struggling lawns, if this happens to you, how can you tackle it?


Types of moss.

There isn’t just one type of moss there are said to be over 10,000 different species of moss in the world.

There are three common moss species found in lawns within the UK.

  • Trailing Moss: This moss is typically caused by poor drainage and has a feather-like appearance.
  • Upright moss- typically caused by low PH levels and is usually found at the base of trees, this moss is often called vertically tufted.
  • Cushion-forming moss: this moss is typically found on lawns that have been cut too short and are found in clusters which is what gives it its cushion name.


Getting rid of moss.

Simply removing the moss would not be enough to curb it. If you do have moss on your lawn then this is most likely due to an underlying issue. This means that removing the moss is yes, essential but ensuring it isn’t going to come back by addressing the main issue with the health of your lawn is going to save you a lot of headaches in the future.


Identifying the cause.

There are a lot of factors that can contribute to poor growing conditions which can lead to moss on your lawn. This can include (But is not limited to)

  • Worn down areas of turf
  • Shady areas (under trees or objects)
  • Compacted soil
  • Poorly maintained lawn
  • Lawn that was cut too short or mown too close
  • Wet weather and poor drainage



Before turning to chemical solutions, trying to physically remove the moss is recommended for the health of your lawn. This can be done by scarifying your lawn to remove all moss and thatch. For smaller areas, this can be achieved using a rake, for larger areas a scarifier is recommended. Browse our range of scarifiers.

Once you have removed the moss then you can simply add it to the compost heap, however it takes longer than normal garden waste to break down some gardeners recommend a separate compost bin for the moss.


Moss killer?

A chemical moss killer is also an option, although as a chemical you can imagine it won’t be the gentlest on your lawn, so this treatment is only recommended if the situation is extensive. If you are going to use it, there are different kinds of courses. There are preventative ones that specialize in moss prevention and then there are the killers designed to get rid of moss that is actively on your lawn.

It is recommended to use moss killer after the process of scarifying or raking. If you treat what remains you are more likely to get a better grasp of control.

If you’re interested more in the specific kinds of moss killer then this article is ideal, from Lawn smith which highlights the best types to use.


The original issue.

Once the moss is under control, you can then focus your attention on treating the original issue which caused the moss’s growth. Hopefully, between an examination of your garden and identification of the type of moss growing, you can get a clearer idea of what exactly the underlying issue was. Read more about the suggested solutions to common issues which cause moss on the green thumb blog.