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Moss appears in lawns in compact, spreading, springy patches that inhibit the growth of the grass.

Find it on: all over the garden, but particularly in lawns
Time to act: spring to autumn


Moss loves to grow in poor conditions and will thrive where other plants struggle, taking over their space. It will appear in areas of compacted soil, poor drainage, low fertility, insufficient light, extremes of pH level, and also where grass has been mown too closely. Once it's established it will quickly spread, appearing as an undesirable and unsightly addition to a lawn.


Moss appears in lawns in compact, spreading, springy patches that inhibit the growth of the grass.


In lawns, improve the growing conditions to discourage moss and help the grass fight back. Encourage the grass to grow vigorously by feeding it and avoiding mowing too closely. In autumn and spring, scarify the lawn with a spring-tine rake to remove any moss. On compacted soils, aerate the turf by making holes in it with a fork, then top dress with gritty compost to assist surface drainage. In shaded areas, sow grass seed or lay turf that is appropriate for such conditions.


In spring or early autumn, use a proprietary product based on sulphate of iron. When the moss has blackened (after two or three weeks), use a spring-tine rake to remove it. Apply it in calm conditions when there is least risk of accidentally damaging nearby garden plants.

Discuss this problem

Talkback: Moss
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lindsayf12 24/11/2011 at 15:27

Hi Daphne, can't help with your problem but was interested to read about your tortoise. I have 2 Mediterranean Spur Thighed torts. They are both males in their 50's and frequently fight with one another -don't know any easy way to stop them. Mine go in the back garden where I avoid using sprays, etc. and allow it to be more overgrown because they like it that way, and most other people can't see it! Also have probs. with moss in my front lawn and aren't sucessful in getting rid.

daphnejones 24/11/2011 at 15:27

I have a tortoise, over 100 years old, and moss in the lawn. How can I treat the moss without poisoning the tortoise?

PROTREEUK LIMITED 24/11/2011 at 15:29

if i was you i would just use a lawn rake to get the moss out, but make sure all of it is out no matter how bad it looks and then cover it with a sandy loam top soil and re-seed. if you cant do the whole lawn at once you can always make a pen to keep the tortoise off the patches you want to grow.

junerose43 24/11/2011 at 15:29

hi lindsay, i too have a Mediterranean spur thighed tortoise,female,around 40 years old, she has her own 'ranch' in the garden and i avoid using any sprays in the back garden because of the tortoise(and the chickens!). my front lawn also has moss in it, being partially shaded, and find scarifying twice a year helps a lot, followed by more grass seed. haven't got rid of it completely but maybe persistence is the key(have only lived here for two growing seasons) will keep trying!

rewolfnus 24/11/2011 at 15:29

After my peony has finished flowering the leaves get black spots on them. As the season progresses they turn crisp as if scorched by the sun and look positively unhealthy can you help me please thankyou, Arthur hughes

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