High concentrations of iron are toxic to moss and weeds, and can kill them without the use of toxic chemicals. Be careful when you apply, however–getting the higher concentration of iron on your lawn can harm the grass, too.
Lawn Care How-To
It has been a cool, wet spring in our neck of the woods, and we are eager to get the plants in the garden. But after digging around a bit, some of the beds were not ready for planting–they were too wet and sticky. You can’t just go by the calendar when it comes to planting flowers or veggies, especially where soils tend to be compacted or clay-like. You need to see if the soil is ready to be worked, or you can end up with a mess.
Finally, one of the ways to reduce weeds is to crowd them out, or prevent sprouting with a thicker, taller lawn. Heavier fertilizing in the mid-spring and early summer with All In One for LAWNS or most other fertilizers, will encourage grass growth. Of course, this means you’ll also have to mow more, too. But regular, high mowing is the best way to keep your grass thick, healthy, and unfriendly to weeds!
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Moss is a plant that can grow in conditions that other plants, including grasses, can’t endure. It is not a very aggressive or competitive plant, especially when compared to grass. Nature seems to use it more as a filler, for thin or bare soils. So, when you ask the question “Why is there moss in my lawn?“, the simple and correct answer is “ because you have conditions that are making it too hard for your lawn to survive.”
A few facts about moss
Moss spores are in the air and only need moisture to germinate and mature. Once established, moss can be very drought tolerant. Some mosses can survive in full sun, though most prefer shade. Moss can grow on any type of soil because their shallow roots simply hold the moss there without drawing nutrients from the soil. They get some nutrients from water, but mostly they make their own food through photosynthesis.
The biggest myth about moss
Ask most gardeners what can be done about moss and they will tell you that that the soil is too acidic (low pH) and it needs to be sweetened with lime (calcium). This is false! As we said above, moss grows in any type of soil – acidic, alkaline, and sometimes on pure rock. The only reason that lime sometimes helps lawns squeeze out moss is when the soil actually is too acidic for the grass to grow properly and it is thinning out. Adding lime in this case, would raise the pH and improve the health of the grass. So, as you can see, the real cause of the moss here is the poor health of the grass.
Weak Grass/Moss Causing Conditions
Here are the major reasons for moss on lawns:
- Too much moisture. Soggy soils, often clay types, drown grass roots but shallow rooted moss can tolerate and thrive in wet soils.
- Too much shade. Grass plants needs a fair amount of sunlight for enough photosynthesis to keep them healthy. Shade tolerant varieties can withstand a little less light, but some moss varieties survive in total shade.
- Clay soil/compaction. Grasses are tough plants that can grow in fairly heavy clay top soils, especially if the soil is moist. But extreme compaction or denser clays are almost impregnable. Moss has no problem growing on this dense clay.
- Drought/ Dry soil. This might sound counter-intuitive, since moss likes moisture, but here is what can happen. When high clay content soils dry out during a drought or normal summer conditions, the loss of moisture causes the soil to actually shrink, which turns it tighter and denser. This can tear and damage grass roots and make it impossible for them to get to the nutrients and water. When the lawn finally begins to receive rain or water, opportunistic moss spores germinate easily, since the grass is not healthy enough to compete. Last summer we experienced a major drought in the North East, and this spring we are finding more moss than ever before.
- Tree Roots. Tree roots can cause moss in a couple of ways. 1. The larger roots that grow close to the soil surface do not give the grass enough soil to dig into. Hence, moss develops and grows on top of these roots. 2. When lawns are not watered deeply, the finer and even microscopic feeder roots of the tree can move upwards into the topsoil and compete with the grass for both water and space. This weakens the grass and permits moss to come in. This also can happen around shrubs that border the lawn, especially evergreens.
- Poor Mowing/Trimming. Poor mowing, mostly too short, can cause your lawn to change from one grass type to a less desirable type. In cases of very short mowing, or even scalping, no grass can survive. Usually you end up with low growing weeds or moss. The same holds true for those who use their “weed whackers” to trim the edges of the grass close to the ground. The short grass does not allow food production (photosynthesis) and has no chance for survival.
- Very Acidic or Very Alkaline Soil. As mentioned above, this is not the major cause of moss on most lawns. In extreme acid or alkaline conditions nutrients will lock up and become unavailable to the grass. This causes unhealthy grass and allows moss to fill in.
If you have any questions about moss, please feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com!
If you have been using our products you are probably very aware of the need for good soil aeration and reducing compaction. In the past we have talked about how clay soils can hold too much water and become soggy, swelled, and oxygen deficient. Now let’s talk about what happens when clay soils get too dry.
A few weeks of mid-summer drought does not do much to harm soils, but when the drought goes on for a month or more, things can go really bad. In our area of the country, we’ve had a few months of virtually no rain. Soils have lost much of their moisture far beyond the root zone. As a result, the clay soils have deflated and actually shrunk back. Cracks are appearing in lawns and gardens and soil is pulling away from the foundation walls of many houses. In severe cases, the dryness has shifted enough soil to cause broken water mains that are deep under ground.
As far as the lawn and garden goes, the dry, shrunken soil has reduced pore (air) space in the root zone. In our area, yards that have not been watered regularly have lost much of the soil aeration that they had in the spring. The tightness around the roots now prevent both water and nutrient absorption. And because the soil has become more compacted, when water is finally applied it penetrates very slowly.
The solution, of course, is to get more water into the soil in the lawns and garden beds. If the soil is rock hard the water will have a hard time penetrating, or could roll right off the high spots or inclines. The easiest way to get the water to move through the soil easily is to treat with Aerify PLUS before watering (or All-In-One for LAWNS if that is all you have).
What we recommend is applying the product to the yard and then watering for a short time, perhaps 15 minutes. Then wait another 15 minutes for the water to penetrate a bit and form some channels the soil. After that, water heavily for at least an hour. If there is any sign of runoff, stop watering and give it time to penetrate.
If you have any comments or questions about your lawn or any of our products, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re always happy to help!
Our All-In-One for Lawns, both original and the Phosphorus Free version, are remarkable products. They not only contain a great lawn fertilizer, but also have some of our Aerify PLUS -Liquid Aeration product in it, along with Biological Dethatcher microbes and beneficial root fungi called Mycorrhizae. This “lawn care kit in a bottle” makes a perfect fertilizer for your early fall fertilizing and can be use for a late fall Winterizer too.
In the North, you should fertilize heavily ASAP if you haven’t already. Then wait until the grass stops growing to do a final winterizer application. You can also use our bio-enhanced Formula 16-4-8 for a winterizer. (For southern lawns that go dormant over the winter, make your fall fertilizer application your last for the year!)
Late fall is a good time to put on other soil amendments. Aside from additional Aerify PLUS for heavy clay soils, here are two other amendments you might want to consider:
NATURE’S MAGIC. This is a great organic addition to your lawn and to your garden beds as well. It provides organic matter, trace elements and numerous other benefits for plant health, deep rooting and stress handling. It helps all soil types, and is vital for sandy soils. It helps buffer poor pH situations and also helps with salt build-up and dog spots.
LIQUID LIME. Lime (Calcium) is a very important plant nutrient as well as a soil amendment in areas of the country where soils tend to be acidic, compacted or claylike. Turf grass grows best with a pH between 6.5 and 6.8, and earthworms also like a pH near neutral. Lime helps improve acidic, low pH soils, improves soil structure, and, since beneficial microbes need calcium to survive, soil bio-activity is enhanced when this product is used. Our Liquid Lime Formula is sugar-chelated, and instantly available.
If you have had a professional soil test taken, or plan to get one, we would be very happy to review the results with you at no charge. Just email or fax them to us at 716-681-7796.
Lawn care routines change with the weather and the seasons. Here are just a few quick tips to keep in mind as we enter fall.
- Gradually start lowering your mowing height once the grass growth starts to slow down or if taller grass is making leaf clean up difficult.
- Don’t allow leaves to accumulate in piles that would smother the lawn.
- Seed now! Overseeding is a great option this time of year, but be sure not to fertilize again until the new grass has grown enough to be mowed at least once.
- Water if needed. Dry conditions in the fall will affect lawn health. You want the grass and other plants to be strong going into the winter. Many people put their hoses away far too early.
- MOVE YOUR LIQUID PRODUCTS TO A WARMER PLACE. Most liquid fertilizers and soil amendments need to be stored in temperatures over 40 degrees, so it is time to move your products out of the shed or other unprotected area and put them in a warmer place.
- Handle thatch before it’s too late! Getting rid of any thatch conditions you may have now will help your lawn spring back when the snow melts next spring.
That’s it for now!