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Moss: A Friend or Foe?

Moss in the garden doesn't have to be the end of the world. It is one of those funny plants that can
have gardeners debating for centuries; completely subjective as to its appeal, one can argue quite
convincingly either way. For many, it is a constant battle to reclaim garden space from ever-
impeding greedy moss that never takes a hike. For others it is the most important part of their
landscape design. There are over 10 000 different species of moss out there, all of which spread
by billions of spores and there are two choices to deal with them, that is either beat'em or join'em.
The latter is the most common outcome, in seeing how persistent Mother Nature tends to be. To
be honest, I can tell you right now that you might as well embrace the moss parade if you have the
environment that supports its growth because once it gets its' hooks in... it can be quite difficult to
get rid of it. If you want to try and eliminate the moss, power washing, dolomite lime, hand picking
are the most popular methods to try.I think that acceptance works best in the end.

Moss always seems to grow where you don't want it and it won't grow where you do want it. The
first thing to do is to ask yourself what the affect of your decisions will be such as:

  • Will it pose a danger to people or pets?
  • Will it cause structural damage?
  • Will it hurt the plant material around it?
  • Is it financially feasible?
  • Will the environment be affected?
  • Will the end justify the means?

Unless moss is on your roof or creating a slippery path, most tend to work with it. In any case of
moss presence, it is always a combination of too much moisture, lots of shade and acidity. For a
roof or path I would suggest a pressure washer and a soil sweetener such as lime, to minimize the
reoccurrence of moss. For slippery situations I would ask about commercial options which tend to last a lot longer.
There is also an organic remedy called," Safer Brand Moss and Algae Killer", that is a safer alternative to copper
sulfate or lime products. Another alternative if possible, is to modifythe environment such as pruning to increase
light, increase drainage and decrease irrigation ( if applicable), or simply enough... hand pick it. Moss does not
grow roots into the soil so in most cases it can easily be scraped or raked off an area. When safety is at risk, it
is better to take the extra steps.

Like we have said before, the best and easiest way to beat the big moss monster is to JOIN it! Nurseries have
some really great varieties of ornamental mosses out there now. It is becoming a growing trend to adapt to your
environment and still add your own flare to it. Moss is the perfect plant to calm a busy yard, create the feeling of
quiet and wrap you in a blanket of serenity in the perfect shade of cool. It can easily be used in moderation or over
the top, whichever strikes your fancy. You can grown it virtually anywhere such as statues, rocks, paths, trees and
furniture with a homemade concoction of beer and moss (What is it with beer and gardens?), provided there is
enough moisture. If you just need to have it everywhere, this is a standard recipe that is great for making new
trinkets look old. Remember, like all organic homemade brews, it also requires a lot of patience.

Recipe: Grow Your Own Moss

1 large clump of moss
1 can of beer (your choice)
1 -2 tsp. sugar

Blend ingredients together until moss is pulverized. Paint onto objects of desire. Keep moist until moss forms. May
require several treatments before noticeable results.

If none of these tips help you in your quest to have the perfect yard for you, you can think of it as a golden
opportunity and have a complete garden makeover. Tastes change, people move and landscapes become
overgrown. It is times like these that a new landscape is the perfect solution in creating the perfect retreat for you
and your family. Anything old can be new again; and when involving moss, anything new can be made old!


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