How to Get Rid of Moss in Lawn Naturally (Step-by-Step Guide for 2021)

Moss can creep into your lawn when you least expect it!

If left unchecked, moss can start taking over and preventing grass from growing.

Bet this sounds familiar?

If moss is intruding on your grass, do not worry, as there are several ways to fix a moss infestation.

In this guide, we’ll take you step-by-step through how to get rid of moss in lawn naturally. As well as how to keep those naughty, mossy fingers out of your lawn in the future.

So before it does anymore creeping…

Let’s dive in.

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12 Step Guide on How to Get Rid of Moss in the Yard

Step 1: Identifying the Problem

The best place to start is to know exactly what you’re dealing with when it comes to moss.

Moss is a small, primitive and, a non-vascular plant that typically grows in wooded areas and on forest floors. It is different from other common broadleaf weeds, as it doesn’t have a true root or stem system. Moss spreads by spores and plant fragments and will often have the appearance of a soft, green leafy carpet.

Sounds so appealing!

But let’s not be deceived. As we all know, moss can become a major problem in a lawn. No surprise then, that it’s classified as a common weed, similar to clovers and dandelions.

forest floor with moss grass

What Encourages Moss to Grow?

This is a good place to start when trying to figure out how to get rid of moss in your lawn.

A high volume of moss can be an indicator of other existing problems, such as poor drainage, compacted soils, a lack of sunlight, and low soil pH. This can indicate that the conditions for growing grass are less than optimal.

It may seem that moss pushes grass out, however, that’s not the case.

So what’s the real story?

Grass struggles to grow where you find moss. Usually, the soil is too moist and compacted and it contains a high acidity level.

Moss grows in harsher conditions. Therefore if grasses cannot flourish in certain areas, then moss signals that the conditions are too difficult for your grass to grow. This can lead to your grass thinning and becoming weak, which can lead to other larger problems, such as exposing your lawn to pests and disease.

Before starting on any of the next steps, make sure you understand what factors might be encouraging the moss to grow in your lawn.

Some good food for thought…

Right, time to get onto the nitty-gritty stuff:

Step 2: Scarification

Sounds like a bit of a tongue-twister. But what is scarifying?

Scarifying is a lawn grooming exercise that involves digging into the soil to remove the dead grass. The objective is to encourage upright growth and to control the build-up of organic material underneath the grass.

If your lawn is not too big this can be done manually with a spring-tine rake. Simply rake the grass thoroughly wherever you see moss thriving. The rake will dig into the soil and make things a bit messy, but you’ll know it’s getting the job done!

Scarifying should only be done during periods of vigorous growth, such as in spring and autumn.

If your lawn is big, then simply hire a mechanical scarifier.

Step 3: Aeration

lawn aeration shoes

Soil compaction commonly occurs following the winter months, after layers of snow have pushed and packed the soil tightly together. This makes it difficult for the grassroots to soak up nutrients and for the roots to spread.

Compaction could also indicate poor soil condition. Certain soils, such as your clay type soils are more prone to compaction.

If you notice your soil is compacted, the easiest solution is to aerate it. You can do this by hand with a rake or other handheld tool, or you can use an automatic machine.

Wondering what the best aerators are out there?

Check out our selection of the best aerators available.

Step 4: Dethatching Your Lawn

Dethatching is pretty straightforward:

It’s all about dethatching the thatch.

Thatch is the layer of dead plant material that builds up between the green vegetation and the soil surface. You can remove the thatch with a rake or by using a dethatching blade attached to a mower. You’ll want to rake or cut right along the surface of the soil to rip up the moss.

It is important to note that it is nearly impossible to get rid of the moss completely, so you’ll need to apply additional moss control methods.

Here’s how to dethatch with a thatching rake:

Step 5: Check Your Soil pH and Nutrient Levels

It’s also important to check the pH level in your soil.

Conduct a soil test, and assess whether you have alkaline or acidic soil.

Ideally, you will want to maintain your soil’s pH levels between 6 and 7. Soils with a pH level over 7.5 are considered alkaline, while acidic soils occur under 6.5.

Moss can often indicate a low soil pH. And if the soil test confirms this, then simply add lime to raise the acidity level.

It’s also good to check other nutrients levels in your soil. You can get in touch with your local garden store and ask them to conduct a soil test for you.

After one test, you may just get to the ‘root’ of the problem.

Step 6: Easy Natural Moss Killer for Lawns

Here are some of the best methods of how to kill moss naturally.

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda is great at controlling moss growth in the yard. And here’s how to use it:

Make sure you wear a pair of gloves before handling the mixture. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking powder, to one gallon of water. This ratio will change, depending on the quantity and density of the moss.

For a larger area of moss, take it up a notch and mix 8 tablespoons of baking soda, to one quart of water. If necessary, you can also apply the baking soda directly to a high moss-infested area.

Check the area frequently and remove the dead moss. For maximum effect, baking soda will need to be applied between 2 and 3 times a week.

It’s also best to apply baking soda in the afternoons after the grass has dried.

Using Dish Soap

This method is super easy and works wonders.

Mix 2 ounces of dish soap with 2 gallons of water in a spray bottle and spray over the moss. Once applied the moss will change to an orange or brown color within 24 hours. As soon as it dries, you can rake up and remove the moss.

man using garden sprayer in backyard

Step 7: What About Weed Killers and Chemicals?

Applying chemicals to kill moss and making sure it stays gone can be a very effective treatment, as long as the right product is used.

The problem is that moss doesn’t process water and nutrients like other plants, so applying normal weed killers to moss will not work. Also, chemicals used for removing moss from roofs or other structures are not to be used on the lawn.

The ideal time to get rid of moss in your lawn is when it’s actively growing. This is primarily during the fall rains, warm winter rains, and early spring.

If going the chemical route, make sure you get a moss-controlling product that contains iron, such as ferrous sulfate. These products are highly effective at killing moss, as it draws out excess moisture, causing the moss to dry up and turn black.

Some moss-killing products may include a fertilizer, which will also help at promoting grass growth at the same time.

Now that sounds like a win-win!

Related articles on weed killers: The 13 Best Commercial Weed Killers and The 13 Best Pet Safe Weed Killers.

Keep reading below to see our top product reviews for getting rid of moss in the yard.

Step 8: Improve Drainage in Your Lawn

Trying to find ways to prevent future moss in your lawn?

Then sorting out the soil drainage in your lawn is an important prevention method.

Moss thrives in soils with poor drainage. When your yard receives heavy rain, watch where the rainwater collects in and around your lawn. In sections where drainage is poor, use a spade to level the soil and grass.

It might be worthwhile installing a catch basin or drain tiles in particular areas. This is a great method for channeling the water where you want it to go. It will require some heavy lifting, but as soon as it’s done, your soil drainage problems will be sorted.

Alternatively, you can apply a fork throughout your lawn or dig tiny holes an inch deep to channel excess water.

raking moss on a lawn

Step 9: Improving Sunlight and the Surrounds

Does your grass have adequate access to sunlight?

Most species of moss tend to favor shadier conditions, while grasses need a decent amount of sunlight to grow. If your lawn is receiving less than 6 hours of sunlight per day, then you’ll need to improve it.

If your yard is predominantly shaded, you may want to prune or thin trees, especially around the base of a tree. Also, cut back garden beds that are looking bushy and overgrown. The biggest thing is to get as much sunlight as possible to your lawn.

You could also look at adding shade-loving grasses to sections of your lawn, such as St. Augustine and Bluegrass.

Then finally, take a look at other structures that may be hindering your grass from growing, such as tree roots.

Larger and exposed tree roots can block grassroots, causing moss to grow on top of the root as well as the surrounding areas. If possible, try to dig up and remove these tree roots.

Step 10: Correct Watering Regime

Finding the perfect balance of watering for your lawn can be a challenge.

Overwatering a lawn and excessive thinning of grass during drought periods can encourage moss to grow.

Too much water and the grassroots drown. Too little water and the soil will shrink, becoming more compact and making it more difficult for grassroots to grow and receive necessary minerals.

Start by paying attention to the weather and rain conditions. Use a rain gauge to measure how many inches of water your lawn is receiving and only water the lawn as necessary to supplement the rainwater.

It’s good to wait on the watering – only water your lawn when the top layer is noticeably dry.

Watering deeply but infrequently ensures the strongest grass growth. Barring any heavy rainfall, it is recommended that you water your lawn one to two times per week.

automatic garden lawn sprinkler watering grass

Step 11: Don’t Mow Too Often or Too Short

Keep track of how frequently you are mowing your lawn.

Cutting grass too short or unevenly will weaken the integrity of the grass itself as well as the root system as time goes on. And weakened grass is an open invitation for moss to take over.

As a rule of thumb:

Never aim to cut off more than one-third of the grass’s length in one go.

Perhaps you’re looking for a good lawnmower?

Take a peek at these helpful articles: The 19 Best Cheap Lawn Mowers of 2021 and The 8 Best Lawn Mowers For Small Yards.

Step 12: Keep Your Lawn in Good Condition

The bottom line:

Moss grows in areas where conditions are preventing grass from growing. Therefore aim to keep your lawn dense and in good condition, by applying fertilizer 4 times a year.

Then check out these great tips for keeping your lawn in good shape: Things to Avoid to Keep Your Lawn in Tip-Top Shape!

Here’s a summary video on how to get rid of moss in lawn naturally:

Some Recommended Products to Get Rid of Moss

Lilly Miller Moss Out

This product is a great natural moss killer for lawns, using a solution of liquid iron.

Follow the instructions carefully on the label and only apply it to the lawn. It’s important to keep animals and children off of the applied area.

Pros

  • Works within a few hours
  • Can be attached to your hose, so there’s no mixing involved.

Cons

  • Known to stain fences and pavements.
  • May need to be frequently applied for maximum effect.

Shade Spring Adjustable Metal Rake

If you’re looking for a user-friendly rake, this is the one!

It comes with an adjustable, rubber handle, making it easier to hold. The zinc layer on the surface of the rake improves its durability and decreases rusting.

Pros

  • Easy to use for all ages.
  • Comes with a pair of gloves.

Cons

  • As it goes with any raking – it will require some good old elbow grease!

Slaouwo Soil pH and Moister Meter

This easy-to-use meter measures soil pH, moisture, and sunlight levels. You can use it in both indoor and outdoor soils.

Pros

  • A quick, easy way to determine the quality of your soil.
  • No need to use batteries.
  • Affordable.

Cons

  • Inaccurate readings can occur, but very seldomly.

Scotts MossEx Formula

Scotts MossEx

Here’s another wonderful natural moss killer for lawns.

Scotss MossEx will attack moss very effectively, making it turn black within a few hours of application. It also improves the quality of the lawn by adding nutrients to the soil, which helps prevent future moss infestations.

Pros

  • Causes no harm to the lawn or any other plants.
  • Doesn’t stain pavements or other outdoor features.
  • A wide usage – covering 5,000 sq. ft. of yard space.

Cons

  • Might require additional application.
  • Will need other equipment when applying the product, such as a rotary or drop spreader.

The Final Step

Time to get out there and start de-mossing your lawn and yard.

It will take some trial and error when trying to get rid of moss in lawn naturally.

But if you follow these steps you are guaranteed to see an improvement in your lawn.

Be sure to share and comment below about your personal experiences.

We look forward to hearing from you.

About the Author: Andy Gibson

My name's Gibson. Andy Gibson. I like to think of myself as the Bond of the backyard, that is if yard work ever became sexy. I write about everything about indoor and outdoor gardening and the dread-it-but-still-need-to-do-it chores around the yard, like cleaning out the gutter guards.