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How to Prevent Moss From Growing in My Lawn

By Jennifer Loucks ; Updated September 21, 2017

Moss is a green plant that grows without a root system and spreads through the production of spores. Moss growth in a lawn is a symptom of problems with the lawn or soil. The plant thrives in areas where there is low soil fertility, acid soil pH, compacted soil or where the lawn is wet or excessively shaded. Moss problems are solved when the overall health of the lawn is increased.

Test the soil pH, as grass prefers to grow in soil that has a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Apply lime to the lawn to increase the pH number. Lime will not kill the moss but creates an environment for better grass growth.

Remove moss growth by pulling it from the ground or spraying a cryptocidal soap to kill the moss. Rake to remove dead moss and apply a 1/4-inch layer of compost to the problem area. Reseed with a grass seed recommended for the area and sun condition.

Apply a slow-release fertilizer to the lawn in the spring to increase the soil nutrient level. Low nitrogen levels in a lawn will stimulate moss growth.

Increase sun exposure in areas that are densely shaded, as moss thrives in cool, shaded areas. Prune trees to allow some sun exposure and plant a shade-tolerant grass in areas where tree pruning does not solve the problem.

Eliminate areas in the lawn where water pools and does not absorb into the soil. Aerate the lawn to decrease soil compaction. Thatch the lawn to decrease the amount of dead growth at the ground level.


Things You Will Need

  • Soil pH test kit
  • Lime
  • Cryptocidal soap
  • Compost
  • Grass seed
  • Slow-release fertilizer
  • Saw or tree pruner
  • Aerator machine
  • Thatching machine


  • Rent a machine to aerate or thatch the grass at garden supply or home rental stores. Thatch and aerate in the spring when the lawn has time to reseed and produce new growth.
  • Do not water lawns frequently during the spring and fall months.

About the Author


Jennifer Loucks has been writing since 1998. She previously worked as a technical writer for a software development company, creating software documentation, help documents and training curriculum. She now writes hobby-based articles on cooking, gardening, sewing and running. Loucks also trains for full marathons, half-marathons and shorter distance running. She holds a Bachelor of Science in animal science and business from University of Wisconsin-River Falls.