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How to Stop Moss From Growing in My Lawn

By Lisa Parris ; Updated September 21, 2017

Moss—a short, pliable type of green plant—tends to thrive in dark, damp places. Mosses exhibit a clumping growth pattern, forming mats that fill in bare areas of the yard. However, many homeowners consider moss a weed and consider its appearance a sign of things gone awry. To remove moss from the yard and prevent future growth, alter the current environment to discourage moss development while not affecting the surrounding turf.

Apply a chemical treatment to any areas of visible moss growth. Look for products designed specifically for this purpose in most lawn-and-garden centers, or order them over the Internet. If you cannot find a product designed for use on moss, check the active ingredients. Moss does not respond well to copper sulfate of zinc sulfate, for example.

Spray the affected areas once a week for three to four weeks. The moss will begin to take on a dark color as it withers and dies. Once all moss growth has ceased, rake the area with a lawn rake, effectively removing all established moss from the lawn.

Cover the bare areas with shade-tolerant grass seeds. Then place a 1/4-inch layer of sand or potting soil over the seeds and add water. Water as needed, keeping the planting medium moist until the new grass has established itself.

Evaluate the lawn to determine the root cause of moss growth. Lawns with moss generally have too much shade, acidic soil, poor drainage or low soil fertility.

Aerate the lawn periodically to improve the soil’s drainage and improve root growth in established grasses. Trim tree branches or shrubs to increase the amount of light in a given area, as moss will not grow in direct sunlight. Raise the pH, if necessary, by adding a top dressing of lime to your lawn. Amend poor soil by spreading organic matter, such as compost or well-rotten manure over any given area.


Things You Will Need

  • Herbicide
  • Lawn rake
  • Grass seeds
  • Sand or potting soil
  • Lime

About the Author


Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.