OK, you've got moss in your lawn and you want to kill it off. So why not put down some moss killer and do a proper job on it? Why? Because it will only grow back again! Unfortunately for lawn keepers everywhere, having moss in your lawn is just a product of your local environment. Put simply, what your lawn doesn't like -  the moss probably will. So if your lawn is struggling you can place a sure bet that moss is likely to be thriving. Remember the following guidelines:

Moss loves, shade, damp, acidic soil and poor drainage.

Lawns hate, shade, damp, acidic soil and poor drainage.

So, if you want to get rid of the moss in your lawn permanently, you will need to deal with at least one or more of the above environmental issues!


Shade is the tricky one in the box, because to get rid of the shade you will need to get rid of what is causing the shade. Depending on what the obstacle is - your house for example - you could be onto a non-starter. But if is an overgrown hedge or broken-down shed you may be in a position to remove it (in the case of the shed), or lower it (in the case of the hedge).

If you cannot remove the obstacle responsible for causing the shade - and presuming there are no other underlying problems - you could always consider removing the existing turf from the problem area and then re-seed it with a lawn seed mix specially blended for use in shaded areas. Alternatively you could always extend your existing borders to encompass the shaded area - therefore eliminating the need to have any turf there in the first place!


A damp soil is almost always associated with shade, but far easier to deal with. Lawns that grow on soils that are periodically waterlogged will be at risk from moss for similar reasons to that of lawn grown in shady areas.

This can be partly due to compacted soil, or by the lawn being laid onto a heavy/clay soil. The roots of the grass require air pockets in the soil so that the plant cells within the roots have access to oxygen.

This oxygen is required for these cells to metabolize - without which the cells, and later the roots themselves, will die. Simply put, the health of your lawn can severely suffer in waterlogged conditions allowing the moss to take a foothold. In extreme or prolonged conditions the moss will once again out-compete the turf.

To improve drainage within the soil you will need a 'Hollow Tine Aerator' - a simple device that removes cylindrical plugs of soil from the top few inches of soil. Simply spiking the soil with a fork - or as in the short film above - a shoe made of nails will not do the job. This is because the tine or nail simply pushes the soil apart to make a small gap. Give it a day of so and a touch or rain, and the soil will expand back into place rendering the work (you have just previously done) useless!


This may sound at odds with the previous statement but there is some sense to it- even though it may not be immediately obvious.

When lawns are left to fend for themselves over hot dry summers, they will tend to thin out and brown off.

Unfortunately, these gaps within the turf can be all that is required for dormant mosses and their spores to take off.

All you need to do is wait for the autumn rains to arrive for your moss to take a clear advantage over these weakened areas. With that in mind - water you lawn!


If your turf or grass seed was grown on soil that is less than four to five inches deep, it is not considered deep enough to grow and maintain a healthy, vigorous lawn. Of all the environmental conditions that can have a detrimental effect on your lawn, this is probably the one that is the most difficult to deal with. Unless you are prepared to remove your turf and start again (with the addition of a few more inches of topsoil) it is probably going to take a few years to deal with. Why? Because other than periodically brushing thin layers of topsoil on to your existing turf there is not much else you can do.

As mentioned before, the better condition your grass is, the better it will be at fending off moss.


Put simply, lawn grass does not care for acidic soil whereas moss will happily grow to its hearts content.

In order to be sure that soil acidity is a factor you will need to carry out a soil test to assess the acidity of the soil.

If your soil is indeed acidic then it is likely in need of adjustment.

In order to re-balanced the soil, lime can be applied in the autumn.


This is quite possibly one of most common reasons as to why moss is allowed to gain an advantage in lawns. Cutting your lawn as short as possible, may well make your grass look amazing but over time the constant removal of healthy growth will tire the grass and leave it in a weakened condition. As I am sure you know by now, a weakened lawn will allow moss to take advantage and establish itself.

For related articles click onto the following links:
How to get rid of moss in a lawn

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