Q: I am having a problem with my fescue lawn. I bought the house about a year ago and have since applied many bags of lime (about fifteen for 4,000 sq. ft.) and fertilizer.
It appears now that there is a substantial amount of moss that is preventing this fall’s overseeding from growing. What would cause moss on a fescue lawn?
A: When I drive by a hamburger emporium on a summer Saturday night, I do not see retirees sitting on the car hoods talking to each other while listening to loud music.
Instead, I see gaggles of teenagers happily visiting, flirting and enjoying each other’s company.
Why teenagers and not retirees?
Because the environment in the parking lot provides just what teens like: neon light, cheap food, hip hop music and warm breezes.
Moss grows in a lawn because the environmental conditions in that area favor it – - and do not favor grass.
What does moss like? Shade, clay soil and lots of moisture.
What does grass hate? Shade, clay soil and lots of moisture!
If you eliminate the three environmental conditions that moss favors, the moss will disappear.
When you next re-seed, add plenty of soil conditioner to the ground before rototilling it. Remove lower tree limbs that cause shade. Redirect water that flows across the fescue lawn. If you can accomplish that, the moss will be no obstacle for your grass.
Products that contain ferrous sulfate or copper sulfate kill moss for a short time. Although moss prefers acid soil rather than alkaline soil, liming a lawn has little to do with moss control.
If you change the environment, moss will leave – just like playing Benny Goodman solos at the drive-in would cause teens to find another location for their trysts.