Moss will not grow in a well-maintained lawn. Grass will outcompete moss if the lawn has good fertility, correct drainage, proper pH, adequate sunlight and loosely compacted soil. Problems with any of the following lead to a mossy lawn.
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Fertilize the lawn in spring when the ground has thawed or green grass appears. Apply a complete fertilizer such as 10-20-10. This is a complete fertilizer that contains moderate levels of nitrogen and high levels of phosphorous and potassium. A high, slow-release nitrogen fertilizer applied monthly during the summer will promote vigorous growth. In the fall, apply a complete fertilizer such as 10-20-10 to aid in root development and winter hardiness. A soil test is recommended every three to five years.
Your lawn will grow best with a soil pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Apply lime following the recommendations that come with your soil ample analysis. Generally, applying lime (half in the spring and half in the fall) will help ensure a better lawn, but check
with your local Extension office; some areas of the state do not need annual applications of lime. Soil test commendations
are your best guide. Lime will not kill moss; it allows the grass to grow better, and healthy vigorous turf will outcompete
If the soil is too wet, you will need to improve the drainage of the soil, put in drain tile or raise the ground level in low pots. Improve the drainage of the soil by aerating with a power plug aerator then topdressing with coarse sand. The lawn should slope away from the house. Dethatching removes the layer of dead grass that may hold excess water in the root zone. After a rainy period, walk on the lawn and determine soggy areas for future treatment or draining.
In heavily shaded areas, the lawn may not be able to outcompete moss.Removing large tree limbs may be necessary to allow more light through to the lawn underneath. Planting a shade tolerant grass, such as red fescue, also helps.
Water can accumulate on top of grass and kill it if soil becomes compacted. Machines are available that aerate the lawn and increase drainage; garden supply companies sell low-cost devices. You can also make your own device by driving spikes through a two-by-four and attaching it to a pole. Push the spikes into the lawn, pull them out and move on to
another spot. A variation on this is to put spikes on two small boards, attach the boards to an old pair of shoes, and walk
around on the lawn. Home-built devices do not work as well as aerators; however, they do provide some relief.
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