What kills Irish moss?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

When it comes to killing Irish moss, there are a few options you can consider. Irish moss, also known as Sagina subulata, is a type of moss that forms a dense mat in lawns and can be quite invasive. Here are some methods you can try to eliminate it:

1. Manual Removal: If the infestation is small or localized, you can manually remove the Irish moss by hand. This is a labor-intensive method but can be effective if done properly. Use a hand rake or a garden fork to gently lift and remove the moss from the soil. Make sure to remove as much of the moss and its root system as possible to prevent regrowth.

2. Improving Lawn Conditions: Irish moss thrives in damp, shady areas with poor soil conditions. By improving the overall health of your lawn, you can make it less favorable for moss growth. Regularly aerate and dethatch your lawn to improve air circulation and water drainage. Ensure proper fertilization and pH levels to promote healthy grass growth and discourage moss.

3. Sunlight Exposure: Irish moss prefers shady areas, so increasing sunlight exposure to the affected area can help control its growth. Trim overhanging branches or thin out nearby trees to allow more sunlight to reach the lawn. Consider pruning nearby shrubs or bushes to reduce shade and promote better air circulation.

4. Dethatching: Moss can often thrive in lawns with excessive thatch buildup. Thatch is a layer of dead grass, roots, and other organic matter that accumulates between the soil and the grass blades. Dethatching the lawn can help remove this layer and create a healthier environment for the grass to grow. You can rent a dethatching machine or hire a professional to do the job.

5. Aeration: Compacted soil can contribute to moss growth. Aeration involves creating small holes in the lawn to allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the grass roots. This helps improve the overall health of the lawn and reduces moss infestation. You can use a manual or mechanical aerator for small areas or hire a professional for larger lawns.

6. Herbicides: If the Irish moss infestation is extensive and other methods haven’t been effective, you could consider using herbicides. Look for a broadleaf lawn herbicide containing Trimec, which is a mix of three materials: 2,4-D, Banvel, and MCPP. These herbicides are effective against broadleaf weeds, including Irish moss. Follow the instructions on the product carefully and apply it only to the affected areas. Be cautious, as herbicides can leach or run off, potentially harming other plants or water sources.

Remember to always read and follow the instructions on any herbicide or lawn care product you use. It’s also essential to consider the potential environmental impact and use herbicides sparingly and responsibly.

Killing Irish moss requires a combination of methods such as manual removal, improving lawn conditions, increasing sunlight exposure, dethatching, aeration, and, if necessary, using herbicides. It may take time and effort, but with persistence, you can successfully eliminate Irish moss from your lawn.