For those of us who struggle to maintain a healthy and vibrant green lawn, grass is often more trouble than it’s ultimately worth. Constantly reseeding, leveling, aerating, dethatching, and mowing can take up a great deal of time. If your lawn doesn’t have proper drainage, you can end up with patches where grass doesn’t grow too well.
Alternatively, if your lawn doesn’t get even sun, or not enough water, you can end up with an uneven lawn of varying densities. One tuft may grow quickly and be a totally different shade of green from the rest of your lawn. Then there’s competition from the weeds. One of the parts of lawn care that can be difficult to deal with is when moss begins to grow. This is one of the most frustrating things that can happen for someone struggling to grow a lush grass lawn. Should it be though?
Embracing The Alternative Green
When you think about it though, why is moss disliked by many in the lawn care community? It requires little maintenance, spreads well on its own, and if grass won’t take, moss usually will. It can be just as green as grass too. Most importantly for many people, it doesn’t have to be mowed. Imagine never needing to fuel up the lawn mower again and covering your sneakers and pants with tiny bits of grass clippings that inevitably end up all over the inside of your home.
Mosses also don’t generally root deep. Truly, most mosses don’t actually root at all. Instead of roots, moss has structures called rhizoids that anchor it down to the ground where it can get the benefits of shade and moisture. It also maintains its green throughout the winter as long as it has access to water. This is a far cry from the need to reseed in spring because part of your lawn died underneath the snow.
If you were already having trouble growing a healthy grass lawn, part of the reason may have been the acidity of the soil. In order to treat that you’d have to apply chemicals, and if that’s simply the nature of the local soil, you’re going to be putting a lot of those chemicals in the ground. This is the ideal environment for mossy lawns which thrive in an acidic environment. In addition, mosses can help absorb melted road salts during the winter and keep them from contaminating the groundwater.
Additionally, moss is great for soil conservation. While it absorbs harmful chemicals such as rock salt that would kill other plants, it also can retain a large amount of water, preventing flooding in areas prone to such events.
As can be expected, there are several aspects of mossy lawn care that are different than grass lawns. For one, moss lawns are generally best for low traffic areas. A stretch of lawn that is prime for play and activity is not a great candidate for moss growth.
- Doesn’t require mowing
- Low overall upkeep
- Green all year
- Absorbs harsh chemicals that kill grass and other plants
- Revitalizes quickly after months of being dried out
Also, as there is no root system for moss, it can really only absorb moisture from the air and immediate surface of the ground. This then requires continued watering. During dry spells, you may find yourself watering your moss regularly, though it doesn’t take as much as a grass lawn. Even when moss does brown and dry out, most bounce back easily when re-hydrated.
When you already have patches of moss growing in your lawn, it may be worth considering how much you truly want grass instead of moss. With a lower upkeep and higher survivability, moss is arguably the better of the two options. Break the mold and go with the lower maintenance option. Chances are, you’ll be the first on your street to have this kind of feature.