ALABAMA A&M and AUBURN UNIVERSITIES
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AUBURN, July 31---"Help! Moss is killing the grass in my yard." That is a horrible scenario some folks describe when they see moss growing on bare patches of ground in their yard.
Actually, ground moss is not killing the grass, but it is a strong indication there are landscape problems which are discouraging a successful lawn, says Dr. Dave Williams, Extension horticulturist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
There are several possible contributing factors to moss growing in a yard. If these factors are corrected the moss will decline and die.
Moss thrives in a wet, poorly drained soil. Most lawn grasses don't perform well in this situation. Correcting drainage improves the conditions for the turfgrass and makes conditions less favorable for moss.
Poor soil fertility and very low pH make survival and growth of a healthy lawn unlikely, says Williams. With improved nutrition, the conditions are again shifted to promote lawn versus moss.
Dense shade also encourages moss growth. Most turfgrasses need a good bit of light to grow well. Removing lower limbs of trees that provide heavy shade allows more light to get to the turfgrass. This measure promotes growth of healthy grass anddiscourages growth of moss.