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Last updated on January 21st, 2020

If you notice moss on your lawn, you are right to be concerned. Moss can be a temporary issue especially after persistent drought or waterlogging but it can also point toward an underlying issue.

If you have a brand new lawn, for example, a great deal of moss can be indicative of poor site preparation. If you have an established lawn, acidic soil conditions, inadequate food, inadequate aeration, even bad drainage can result in unwanted moss.

Killing and subsequently removing the moss is only the first step. In order to keep your lawn free from moss, you have to tackle the underlying factors which could be any of those listed above. A good way to do this is to implement an annual lawn care schedule, part of which includes things like proper feeding, preparation by scarifying your lawn in spring and autumn, proper mowing, and drainage which can be improved greatly by aerating your lawn.

There are many types of moss that can grow on your lawn but in most cases, they are coarse and loose, often yellow or green in colour. They form dense tufts that leave the surface uneven. Loose areas of moss can leave your lawn with a spongy feel underfoot. It’s much easier to control moss with a year routine than it is to try and remove and kill moss once its established in your lawn.

What causes moss?

Moss can be caused by many things. If, for example, you have sparse grass coverage, the balder areas might be filled with moss. If you have areas of your lawn prone to daily wear and tear, such as areas where people regularly walk or play, this can create an environment perfect for moss. 

Moss grows often under trees, or in other shady areas. Other potential causes include compacted soil, waterlogged soil, drought-stressed grass, or acidic soil. If you mow too closely, fail to maintain your lawn or fail to give it enough food, it can also result in moss. 

Removing Moss

No matter the cause, you need to find a way to control and remove it. As mentioned there are many things that can contribute to the growth of moss across your lawn and the best way to control it is to prevent it. Once you have gotten rid of moss on your lawn you should regularly implement annual lawn care strategies to prevent it from coming back.


Lawn care - scarify and aerate your lawn to remove moss and thatch

The first way is through scarification. This is something you can integrate into your annual lawn care schedule. This is best done in September or October as your lawn will look very bare but will reward you for it and will quickly recover. If you cannot scarify in Autumn then it can also be done in spring. Vigorously rake the lawn by hand using a rake or use an electric or petrol scarifier which makes the job much easier, removing the moss and other debris that is starting to collect on top of the grass. A scarifier will also remove thatch and weeds from deep into the lawn and will also help water and nutrients get to the roots of the lawn.

To learn more about how to scarify your lawn you can read our guide by clicking here.

See our top recommended scarifiers which make removing moss much easier.

Our top recommended scarifier for removing moss

Bosch AVR 1100 Verti Cutter Lawn Raker
  • Fast verticutting without tool blockage
  • Fast and complete collection of moss and thatch
  • Comes with a 50 Litre collection box, vibration emission value ah: 2.5 m/s², uncertainty K: 1.5 m/s²
  • Innovative drum with stainless steel blades and airflow inlets quickly and completely removes the layer of thatch consisting of plant debris moss and weeds from the lawn

Non-chemical ways to control moss and feed the lawn at the same time

You can also apply non-chemical products to control moss but if you do this, mow the lawn short beforehand and leave it for at least 7 days before you mow again. Most of these products need water to activate, so they are better applied as part of your springtime care routine, sometime between March and October. If you apply such a product Neudorff Organic CleanLawn or Evergreen Norake, rest assured that it will help prevent moss.

Neudorff 2.5Kg Organic Lawn Feed and Improver
  • Fast acting & long lasting fertiliser. For a thick & green lawn that suppresses moss & weeds.
  • Improves soil condition. With soil improving microorganisms.
  • Mycorrhiza funghi for a root system up to 150x bigger ensuring strong & healthy plant growth.
  • Organic compound fertiliser NPK 10-3-5: animal by-products, fermented vegetation residues, organic material & living microorganisms.
  • Granulated for use with fertiliser spreaders. Use between March & October. Application: Scatter 50-100 g/m, 2-3 times a year.

Using lawn moss killers

In addition to these, you can use weedkiller controls that are commercial grade and designed to control moss and weeds. Moss Killers containing sulphate of iron should be applied to your lawn in the Autumn or the spring.

These products will turn the moss black after two or three weeks after which you should use a rake or scarifier to remove it. When you apply commercial products like these, you can find some that are a combination of fertilizer, moss killer and weedkiller which helps your lawn to improve. Regardless, these products should be applied according to the instructions so that you don’t apply too much as this can actually result in dead patches on your lawn and you don’t apply in the wrong weather. 

We recommend using a lawn spreader as most are in granular form and this will ensure an even correct spread and prevent burning the lawn.

See some of our recommended lawn spreaders in this review roundup by clicking here

See our top recommended moss killers for lawns

Miracle-Gro EverGreen Complete 4 in 1 17.5kg - 500m2
  • Creates a thicker, greener and healthier lawn whilst killing weeds and moss
  • WaterSmart formula helps absorb water and nutrients more effectively, helping to protect your lawn against drought and stress
  • For ideal results, apply using an EverGreen or Scotts spreader to ensure even coverage
  • After applying this product in accordance with the label instructions keep children and pets away from treated areas until the granules have been watered in thoroughly and the areas have dried
  • Use from April to September
Pro-Kleen 2.5 KG PREMIUM Iron Sulphate (Makes up to 2500L When Diluted & Covers up to 2500m2) Pure Lawn Tonic- Ferrous Sulphate of Iron Lawn Conditioner and Turf Hardener. Dry Powder easily soluble in water
  • ✓ DRY GRADE POWDER EXTREMELY POWERFUL, HIGH QUALITY PREMIUM 3-in-1 FORMULA: WITH OVER 10,000 SALES and 10,000 SATISFIED CUSTOMERS. TOP BRAND. OVER 350 5 STAR PRODUCT REVIEWS WITH AN AVERAGE 4.8 RATING ***** Iron Sulphate is an Iron rich and long lasting fertiliser that will encourage strong growth and healthy dark green grass and act as a turf hardener.
  • ✓ USED & TRUSTED BY PROFESSIONALS: Used by professional green keepers, lawn keepers, park keepers, sports grounds men etc for perfect pitches, green lawns, and superior golfing greens. Sulphate of Iron is used as a lawn greener and a lawn conditioner by many discerning home users across the UK to improve their grass quality.
  • ✓ HELPS TO PREVENT LAWN DISEASE: Our thoroughly researched & developed, tried and tested formula gives grass sensational colour and even helps to prevent lawn disease with its turf hardening qualities.
  • ✓ EASY TO USE: Coverage of 2.5KG approx 2500 sq metres for GRASS GREENING, 1500 square metres for turf hardening - CAN BE APPLIED WET or DRY. Best used dissolved in water for easy & even coverage but can be applied dry also - The easy open/close clip top tub means this is easily stored in optimum conditions. Instructions for usage including suggested dosages for grass greening are on back of tub.

Preparing areas for new lawns to help avoid moss growth

If you have a new lawn make sure you properly prepare the area beforehand which means making sure you have a good layer of soil under the lawn and that the area is free-draining. We recommend avoiding any commercial-grade products for the first 6 months to give the lawn enough time to establish.

What to do with dead moss

Once you have removed dead moss, you can add it to your compost heap. Moss can be slow to rot and should be mixed in with plenty of other compost material.

Image credits: Shutterstock.com

Last update on 2021-04-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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