Moss Lawn: Benefits, Requirements, and How to Grow?
Are you planning to convert your grass lawn into a moss lawn? Great choice. The intricately structured green stretch of moss will be a thrilling sight for everybody. Besides, this could be a good choice for those who are too busy to cope up with grass, which usually requires high maintenance.
Here are a few requirements to ensure you can grow a moss lawn with the least troubles.
- Soil has to be compact to allow for moss to grow in their natural close-knitted design
- Soil must have acidic content. Not too acidic, but slightly above neutral on the pH scale
- Moisture must be consistent. Reduced moisture can affect moss growth
- Moss requires sunlight for a few hours followed by some shade that still throws partial light
What is a Moss Lawn?
A moss lawn is a perfect alternative to a grass lawn. It relieves you of the worry of using fertilizers and also mowing. In fact, if you have good moisture where you live then you do not even need to water it!
Do you have an empty lawn with poor soil? Moss would easily adapt to even malnourished soils. Basic elements such as air and water (even due to precipitation) are enough for moss to sustain.
The perks of a wildlife-friendly, water-friendly, and no-herbicide philosophy glossy garden surface make it an environmentally-friendly choice.
Benefits of a Moss Lawn
The benefits of a moss lawn bring about positive changes to the lives of gardeners and the environment altogether.
- Mild misty days are enough to impart a glossy visual treat of photosynthesizing moss.
- An indoor moss garden that also grows several fruits and vegetables can benefit the soil on which moss grows. The water-retaining property of mossy soil distributes water to nearby soil and surrounding air (as moisture). Thus, your other plants will benefit from moss.
- Ecologically speaking, you can be a part of some beautiful firefly nights. A moss yard is a perfect destination for insects that are attracted to moisture.
- Birds are known to literally make their nests comfortable by adding multiple chunks of moss bed. Just imagine, how beautiful would lush green bird nests look in your backyard?
- Moss is an accurate indicator of air quality in the area you live in. It possesses a high sensitivity to pollutants such as CFCs, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide in the air. Thus if you notice moss growing in your garden, it’s fair to say you are surrounded by cleaner air.
- Moss gardens are fertilizer-free and thus exhibit no traces of chemicals that are generally used to treat gardens. This makes it an ecologically friendly source for any animals that use your garden.
- The fact that a moss garden does not require a lawnmower adds up to the carbon-absorbing properties. Your eco-friendly habitat now has another solution to reduce your carbon footprint.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build a Moss Garden
Are you wondering how to grow moss?
Follow the steps mentioned below and you will have your lawn covered in moss within 2 to 3 months time. The requirements are minimal and the process is honestly really simple. You are going to enjoy taking up this fun garden project.
Choose the type of moss
There are categories of moss that you can choose from. One is known as acrocarps and the other is pleurocarps. Depending on whether you want tough and strong moss structures, or moss bulging out of vines, you can make a choice.
Acrocarps will grow in an upright direction and in a collective fashion. They will develop as clusters of moss that slowly spread across the garden and eventually take over. This is one of the best ways to prevent weeds from sprouting and infesting your garden. The most common species are hair cap moss, pin-cushion moss, springy turn moss, and mood moss.
Pleurocarps, on the other hand, emerge in curly and random patterns. You can opt baby tooth moss if you are simply trying to make a moss lawn for the short-term. If you are looking for a long-term solution then spoon leaves moss can grow as a thick blanket and contribute to the nutritional needs of your soil.
Identify the perfect spot in your garden
Where you plant your moss is highly critical to the chances of succeeding in your mission. Knowing how moss usually grows on the most random spots, you can consider planting your moss near existing traces of moss.
Otherwise you need to identify spots in your to-be moss garden that receive healthy amounts of sunlight and shade simultaneously. Moderate shade is okay, but not too much. Shade is beneficial as it is the perfect environment for moss to contain and sustain its moisture. Whereas sunlight contributes to photosynthesis. Both attributes together will give you a consistently healthy moss garden.
If you do not have any sunlight then this is your chance to plant a few trees. This should add to the shade needed for moss growth.
Do you have a barren spot in your garden with cracked and deprived soil? Moss is versatile enough to flourish even in such conditions.
Prepare the soil for planting moss
Now that you have a well-suited spot and the type of moss you need ready, you can work on readying the soil for the best results. Start by clearing out any shed leaves, branches, weeds, old grass, etc. Wondering why are you clearing the garden surface? This is because exposed soil free of debris and plants is ideal for moss to grow in.
You can either use lawnmowers or fertilizers to eliminate any existing weeds or grass on your lawn.
Do you notice cracks and depressions in the soil? Make sure you cover them up and flatten out the land. Excess water and debris can clog these depressions and starve the moss of air.
Another thing you need to do is check the pH of your soil. Although moss is versatile and can be grown in all kinds of soils, a slightly acidic pH content provides the perfect atmosphere. If your soil pH is above 6 then it is on the neutral or alkaline side. You need to add sulfur or powdered skimmed milk to make it acidic. Before testing the soil again make sure you add water and this water is absorbed by the soil.
On the other hand, if your soil is over-acidic, then adding calcium carbonate or dolomitic limestone will increase its rating on the pH scale.
Tip: You can further beautify your garden by growing moss on paving stones, rocks, and logs of wood. A moss slurry mixture can be made to pour over the rocks and wood on your lawn that you want moss to grow on. More about this is mentioned in the next step.
Create a moss mixture for a decorated indoor moss garden
You must have a sample of whichever type of moss you plan to grow. Take a blender and mix this sample with 2 cups of each, buttermilk and water. Do not use a high blending speed because you want your final product to be thick and gooey.
One your notice that your mixture has become smooth and thin, you can stop the blender. Also, if you notice that the mixture is extra thick then simply add water and continue mixing for a few more minutes. This solution can now be poured over rocks, stones, logs of wood, and any surface you wish to see moss on. 3 weeks of thorough watering and you will see green patches of moss budding.
Planting the moss
Now that you have compacted, crack-free, and slightly acidic soil, you can begin planting your moss. You must make an attempt to plant moss in cooler climates, ideally spring or fall. This helps to avoid warm summer months that can easily dry and kill your moss due to a lack of moisture.
Make sure you spray water all over your to-be moss garden. Don’t spray water consecutively for 15 to 30 minutes as this will clog the soil and choke your freshly planted moss. After spraying water you must use a shovel to further compact the soil. Post this, use a rake to gently create structured deformations in the soil. This is where your moss will be planted with ease.
Finally it is time to lay your moss into the soil. Break your moss into pieces that are at least a quarter-inch in size. Place these moss chunks in equally distanced sections (1.5 inches apart is good enough). Make sure you apply mild pressure onto the moss patches so that they firmly merge with the soil.
Bonus tip: If you live in windy and high rainfall regions, then adding netting over your newly planted moss can prevent it from getting detached from the soil.
Maintaining and growing your moss lawn
Now the base is set and you need to nurture your moss in the correct way. To your relief, the only thing you need to ensure is consistency is the watering process. This can be done by installing an oscillating sprinkler system such as the Melnor oscillating sprinkler.
We know that growing a moss lawn requires watering. But the frequency of watering depends on the moss type you have chosen. If you opted to plant acrocarp moss then frequent watering for the first 2 months is enough. Experiencing rainfall for these 2 months? Then do not over-water your acrocrap moss as it can kill the growth.
Whereas if you have planted pleurocarp moss then daily watering is ideal for long-term maintenance. The fact that pleurocarps absorb more water than acrocarps means that they also dry out if craved of a water source.
Speaking of maintenance, if you notice weeds growing through your moss then simply take frequent walks in your moss lawn. Remember, a moss lawn can easily bare mild movements but not sudden jerks and slides.
You now have an idea of what is moss, how to grow moss, and how to maintain a moss garden for the long-term. Simply ensure the water source is regular and the soil is compact. You are not going to find easier solutions than this for garden beautification or restricting weed growth.