Is Moss Attacking Your Lawn or Garden This Year?

Mar 31, 2022

Dear Friends:

Green moss is staking claim to lawns this year in droves. It seems every other customer of mine is having an issue with moss in their lawn.

Moss is classified as bryophytes which are non-vascular plants. Moss is a plant but does not have parts we are used to seeing. It does not have true leaves, branches or even roots. With no roots, moss finds other ways to absorb moisture, so this is typically why moss is found in shady damp areas.

Moss does not have seeds and spreads by division or spores. Moss gardens can be awesome if you have the right conditions and wish to have this look in your garden. On the flip side, it can be a royal pain if you don't wish to have it.

Moss will not push out or kill grass in your lawn but can be viewed as an opportunistic plant. It takes advantage of bare soil where nothing is currently growing. Find out why your grass is dying and you'll help find the underlying cause why you are getting moss growing. Here are a few problems that may be causing moss to grow.

Compacted soil kills roots of grass and makes an ideal area for moss to take control.

Poor drainage or wet areas rot roots of grass and provide ideal moisture moss love

Lack of sunlight. The sun makes everything grow even in a shady spot. Lack of sun makes grass difficult to grow and is the preferred light for moss.

Once you identify and correct the underlying problem , we can start killing the moss and reseeding the area. Start by using a moss killer. Scott's makes a moss control granule that is affordably priced and goes up to 5,000 square feet. Simply sprinkle on top and the active ingredient , ferrous sulphate, will turn the moss black. Depending on the weather this process can take a week to two to see results.

Once the moss dies, rake it off and seed the area. Keep grass seed moist until it germinates. An application of a starter fertilizer will help to nourish seed and get it off to a healthy start.
Use a new " tack straw" to cover the area. This product contains some glue with finely cut blades of straw. Sprinkle on top of the area just seeded, water and be amazed how the glue binds the straw to the ground. And because it is a finer straw blade, it decomposes right into the ground. I recommend this " tack straw" wholeheartedly. It really works!!

Now is also a great time to apply a tree and shrub drench to your birch trees for borer prevention, any trees that Japanese beetles seem to munch on, ash trees for the emerald ash borer as well as azaleas for lace bugs, any plants with leaf miner, soft scales, root vine weevils, aphids, caterpillars viburnum beetles and much more.. simply measure the trunk, or height of the plant, mix the correct amount of product into a gallon of water and pour on the plant. You are protected for a year from application date! No spraying needed! I recommend Fertilome brand Tree and Shrub Systemic Drench which is available in sizes from qt to 2.5 gallon size containers.

Also if you have flowering pears and experienced the wrath of fire blight in the past, now is the time to spray.
Fire blight is a bacterial disease that affects plants in the rose family, including apples, crabapples, hawthorn, cotoneaster, quince, pyracantha, spireas and of course, pear.. The bacteria is spread by wind and insects and even through the plant's water conducting (vascular) system. Blossoms are the first to be infected in the spring followed by new tender growth. These tips will die and turn black. The leaves cling to dead branches. When looking at these trees, they literally look like they have been burnt, hence the name , fire blight.

As for treatment, you are going to want to start spraying them with Fertilome brand Fire Blight Spray. This antibiotic spray needs to be sprayed when blossoming starts, repeat 3-4 days then up to two more applications 5-7 days apart. This will help rid the disease on pears from reaching maturity. Last year was not too bad for fire blight, but this year looks promising for this disease to occur. Cool weather combined with rain are the perfect storm for this disease to take a foothold and guess what? That's what we have been having this week.

Also, if you have crabapple trees, get ready to spray them for apple scab. Apple scab is a fungus that produces yellow spots on leaves which ultimately turns into olive to black spots on underside of leaves and fruit. Left alone, leaves will yellow and drop in summer. A spray of Fertilome brand "Liquid Systemic Fungicide II" as soon as you see the tips of the leaves emerge, then a second spray 10-14 days later will help curtail this problem. If we continue, to have rainy days, a third spray after petals fall should be applied.

Also hatching this upcoming week is the eastern tent caterpillar. The egg masses look like a widened growth on tree limbs. Once temperatures rise a bit, the worms come out and spin a silky web, like a tent, hence the name. These creatures prefer cherry trees, but have been found on oak, maple, birch and even dogwoods. A spray of bacillus thuringiensis or spinosad will eradicate these pests upon contact. Left alone, these plants munch on newly forming leaves and can cause dieback to trees. Keep your eye open for these tents making an appearance on your trees and treat them accordingly.

My advice, have these products ready when you get a chance to spray, an ounce of prevention goes a long way.

J.R. Pandy, "The No B.S.Gardener"
Pandy's Premier Garden Center

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