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Moss Problems

09 Oct 2012

Moss Problems

At this time of year moss can be a significant problem. To find out more about moss and its control read on

Mosses are green plants with leaves arising from all sides of a central axis. Mosses have the ability to grow erect or prostrate. There are several types of moss that grow on turf. These are usually coarse, loose, green or yellowish-green tufts between the grasses, but can form a dense mat at the soil surface.


Conditions which encourage the growth of moss include low fertility, poorly drained soils, high soil acidity, wet soils, compacted soil and excessive thatch. These conditions alone or together are factors that add up to thin or weak turf. Physical or chemical removal of the moss will only be temporary unless the underlying conditions are improved.


Moss and algae is also a significant problem on hard surfaces eg. paths, car parks. This problem occurs especially in shaded damp conditions resulting in slippery surfaces. Paths can particularly become very dangerous for pedestrian traffic as do artificial sports surfaces such as tennis courts and astro-turf games pitches.


Poor growing conditions that favour the growth of moss:-

  • Weak or sparse grass cover
  • Worn areas of turf, especially along walkways
  • Shady areas, especially beneath trees
  • Compacted soil
  • Wet weather and waterlogged conditions
  • Drought-stressed grass
  • Mowing too close
  • Impoverished lawns or infertile soil
  • Poorly prepared or poorly maintained lawns
  • Acidic soil conditions




Try to alleviate as many as possible of the above factors. This will help reduce or even solve future moss problems.


Removal of moss is in the autumn and/or spring is ideal. This can be carried out on small areas by vigorous raking with a spring-tine rake (Springbok). For larger areas mechanical scarifiers are necessary which will not only help remove moss but also thatch.


On heavy or compacted soils aeration is vital. This can be done by manual or mechanical spiking or hollow tining, followed by an application of the correct sand or top dressing.

Chemical Control

Iron - The most common is ferrous sulphate (Iron Fe) which is included in many fertilisers. These products are ideally applied prior to scarification and once the moss has blackened scarification can start. By adding the Iron with a fertiliser you can also help address any nutrient deficiencies present which can lead to thin grass cover. These can also be applied to help deter moss.

Jewel - The first weed and mosskiller on the market. On exposure of the active ingredient on moss it will turn a distinct off-white colour due to the loss of chlorophyll. Effects are usually visible within 14 days after application, dependent on weather conditions.

Cleanmax - (This product is only for hard surfaces and NOT turf) Hard surfaces and artificial pitches can become colonised with algae, slimes, lichen, liverworts and moss, especially in shaded situations. Cleanmax is a blend of organic acids and surfactants that loosen deposits acting as a safe cleaner for all types of hard surfaces. If there is significant moss cover the area may need to be brushed, hosed or pressure washed to remove dead vegetative matter after a couple of days.


More information on control products