How To Permanently Remove Moss From Growing In Unmulched Beds

Question From: Royal Oak, Michigan, United States
Q: Hi Nancy, Over the past couple of years I've been having a continual and expanding problem with moss growing in my unmulched beds. No matter how often I remove the moss and rake the soil to keep it loose and uncompacted, the moss just keeps spreading. I've even tried pelletized lime, which kept the moss down for a time but it came back. What can I do to get rid of it once and for all?

A: Jan, Moss will not harm your plants. If you mulch the soil with pine bark fines you can cover it. Pelletized lime raises the pH of the soil and can damage plants. It's a myth that moss will not grow in alkaline soil. It thrives in mine, but I embrace it. There are products you can buy to kill moss (e.g. Bayer 2 in1 Moss and Algae Killer), but it will grow back if you fail to fix the soil and give the area more light. Compaction, bad drainage and lack of sun make a perfect bed for moss. Surface raking does not deal with badly compacted soil. Be prepared to do a lot of work. If you use a moss killer read the label carefully - so you don't damage your plants. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy.