Moss Control on Turf and 5 Ways to Beat It.
Moss control on turf, is a blog put together but a Jack Chapman who is owner of Kingsbury Lawncare . Jack gives us his experience of dealing with it on lawns and how that is transferable to sports turf. Jacks also looks after sports turf, so has a good understanding of the issue from both sides.
Moss is a common issue in UK turf, if this be in lawns or sports surfaces. Moss loves damp, mild conditions and in recent years our autumn and winter weather just lands us with more and more of it!. How can we gain adequate control of moss? Here’s our five best methods of control.
It may not be top of the list at this time of year, but moss is an invasive plant which enjoys damp conditions. This means that if your grass is being left too long, the base of your lawn could well be remaining damp for long periods, and suiting the development of moss. At the other end of the spectrum, if you are mowing at your summer height of cut, this is likely to be a source of stress for your lawn.
If the grass is placed under stress and thinning out, this gives moss an opportunity to outcompete. Maintaining a dense grass cover as we enter autumn and winter is key in combating moss, just like maintaining a thick, healthy surface in spring will lessen weeds. Clear Leaves / Reduce Shade
Another tip which may be able to be acted upon quickly over the winter period is the amount of light the grass is benefitting from. With the shorter days and weak sunshine, it’s even more important that your lawn / sports surface gains as much light as possible. Leaves and overhanging bushes / branches restrict the light available.
Some of our best lawn renovation turnarounds have involved tree surgery in the early months. If you’re looking to upgrade your lawn this year, looking upwards could be the place to start in some cases.
Turf needs nutrition all year around, lawns, much like golf tees and cricket outfield areas of a similar height of cut require only very little amounts of nitrogen through the winter months to help with healthy growth.This is only one element which your lawn needs to maintain its strength.
Keeping a healthy grass cover through the relevant annual fertiliser applications assist with the vigour of the grass, and controls moss at the same time.
It is vital that your lawn is able to outcompete moss – our Lawn Care Treatment Programme contains three moss control applications within our five visits to be sure we don’t lose control of moss within the wettest and darkest months of the year.
Thatch is the term given to dead matter found between the soil and the grass plants, made up of dead leaves, roots and stems. It is naturally produced, decomposing material. Thatch is healthy to a lawn up to a point where it becomes problematic for healthy grass growth.
Thatch often spends its winter sat damp, and as we know this then becomes a lovely home to moss by the time we reach late-autumn / early-winter.
Moss is often the symptom with thatch the cause. If thatch builds up it is an issue, increasing the frequency and intensity of scarification is advisable. Within our Lawn Renovations we hit the thatch layer within lawns aggressively, aerate and overseed within the same call for multiple benefits.
We gain the best results on this work from mid-August through to early October – on the early side of the typical cricket or tennis renovation period.
4/5-Reduce Compaction and Improve Surface Drainage
If water isn’t moving through the soil surface it could suggest that there is a soil compaction problem, or a deeper drainage issue. The process of aeration opens air pockets deeper into the soil, providing passages for water, fertiliser, air and root growth. Moving water away from the surface is a must to reduce moss and as a preventative to disease issues over summer months such as red thread.
Moss is a constant threat in not only lawns but all turf surfaces when conditions allow. Having worked on cricket squares, bowling greens and lawns, the combination of next to no thatch, good light levels, mowing and brushing where possible and not forgetting about nutrition combats moss on a cricket square throughout winter months incredibly well.
Our Lawn Care Treatment Programme, when working in partnership with our clients does an excellent job in limiting the moss development which is possible within our lawns. When a lawn has been left without care for some time then mechanical work of scarification, aeration and overseeding at the correct intensity is the usual method for lawns which are really suffering where moss has been choking the grass coverage for some time.
If you only have a small amount of moss, it will dry out during warmer weather, but if you have a large amount, then the use of a iron based product is a option.
Lawn sand, yes lawn sand is a option there is sand within your loam if using as a criket Groundsman, so not a major issue in small quantities. There is also Fe sulphate which blackens off and dries up the moss, but again with all Fe(iron) applications ensure any young grass is past the two leaf stage.
Once blackened off you can rake/verticut the dead moss out and if the soil is bare, over seed with a suitable grass seed. Perennial ryegrass is often the choice for lawns and also sports pitches.
Moss Control on Turf by Jack Chapman.
Any further questions for Jack on moss, please leave a comment in the reply box below.
Its always good to get views from our fellow Groundsmen/Greenkeeper or lawn professionals, so thanks to Jack for helping us understand moss a bit more!