Natural Way to Kill Moss

Don't let moss take over your backyard.
Don't let moss take over your backyard. (Image: Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images)

Mosses are primitive green plants that start as spores carried into your garden by the wind. If conditions are just right, these spores develop into a lush mat of dense, green growth. Although moss is harmless, it can compete with your other plants for soil space. Get rid of this pest naturally by changing your backyard landscape so the conditions necessary for moss growth are no longer present.

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Say Hello to Sunshine

Moss thrives in shady conditions and needs dense, cool shade to develop and spread. Eliminating shade doesn't just kill moss — increasing sun exposure also increases the vigor of most other garden plants so they can better compete with invading moss. Keep your lawn and yard free of fallen leaves and vegetation, which create a protective, shady cover for moss to grow under. Sterilize pruning shears by wiping them down with rubbing alcohol, then cut back overhanging tree branches, dense shrubs and other tall stands of vegetation that could be casting shade.

Try to Dry

Waterlogged soil and too much moisture basically roll out the welcome mat for moss. Reduce how often you water your plants or lawn, allowing the soil to dry out completely between watering. Additionally, never water at night, as cool evening temperatures prolong how quickly the soil can dry out. Keeping your backyard and lawn as dry as possible not only helps kill existing moss, but also stops new moss from growing.

Let's Get Physical

Physical removal quickly eliminates existing moss and, when combined with drying out your backyard and increasing sun exposure, can keep your landscape free of this pest. Use a metal rake and briskly sweep it across any problem areas in your backyard. Rake the moss into a pile, then discard the moss.

Pump Some Iron

If raking is difficult, try a natural herbicide before raking the moss. Applying iron sulfate can weaken, burn and kill this pest. However, results vary depending on how vigorously the moss is growing. Use 1 1/2 ounces of iron sulfate in 2 1/2 gallons of water. This amount of solution is enough to cover 500 square feet of lawn or gardening space. Spray the solution on all mossy surfaces, taking care to avoid sidewalks, driveways and patios, as it stains concrete. After a week, the moss will be brown and mostly dead and can be more easily raked and removed.

Remember, herbicides and physical removal are temporary answers to the problem. You must modify your garden's growing conditions to ensure the moss does not return.

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