Moss, most of us have it somewhere in the landscape. Many may even consider it a nuisance. However, before you try to get rid of the landscape of moss, why not take another look at its potential instead.
Moss has been around for eons. There are thousands of moss varieties all over the world. Moss can be found in numerous shades of green or even grey, which can actually be used as an asset in the landscape. In fact, it’s a popular feature in many garden styles, such as Japanese and rock gardening. Moss will happily grow where many other plants will not, like shade. But it can also be found growing on trees, logs, rocks, and even concrete. How is this possible? Moss doesn’t have any roots. Instead, it has tiny ducts that absorb moisture. When there’s no moisture, moss simply goes dormant, waiting until the moisture is restored. So other than occasional watering of the site, moss is basically maintenance free and unaffected by pests or diseases.
Patches of live moss are the best material for starting moss in the landscape. Since moss will grow nearly anywhere and in any soil type (provided the pH is 5.0-6.0), they’re relatively easy to transplant from one part of the landscape to another. Often you can find pieces of moss already growing on your property and transfer them to your chosen site. Take a stroll around your landscape to see what types of moss grow in your area and get a feel for their natural habitat. However, don’t collect them from someone else’s property without their explicit consent and never collect moss from the wild. Unless you’re lucky enough to already have some growing on your property, you’ll most likely have better results by finding and choosing moss that is suitable to your region and site’s conditions, which can be obtained by reputable moss suppliers. Most moss varieties prefer shady areas while others enjoy basking in the sun. You should also take into account its favorable growing surface such as trees, rocks, soil, etc. This might require a little research, but there are many moss resources available and it’s well worth the extra effort.
Spring or fall is the best time for planting your moss, especially after a good rain. Prepare the site by first doing some junk removal or removing any debris and raking the area smooth. Water it thoroughly and then place the moss, in patches, into the designated areas, pressing down firmly. You can also moisten the bottoms of the moss as well. There’s no need to keep them close together. Once it has taken hold, the moss will readily spread into one another, filling in any empty gaps. To help the pieces of moss stay in place, simply secure them in place with small twigs. Be sure to keep the area damp, but do not over water. The moss patches should begin to establish themselves within a month or so. Moss can also be propagated by spores. Putting moss in a blender with water or buttermilk for a minute or two and then pouring it onto a prepared surface, will also create healthy moss plants in about five weeks.
Moss makes an excellent alternative groundcover for shady lawn areas, pathways between paving stones, and anywhere grass or other plants are difficult to grow. Adding moss to the landscape is a great way to enhance its overall appearance. Once established, moss can add an amazing carpet of color and year-round interest to the landscape.