Best Moss Killer for Lawns

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Best Moss Killer For Lawns

Ask any green-fingered enthusiast about moss and wait for the eye-roll!!!

Moss is a small, green, flowerless plant that, at first glance, appears harmless. Granted, it might not actually kill your grass, but it looks unsightly and can result in your lawn looking lacklustre, patchy and uneven.

Best Pick – Moss Killer

Miracle-Gro Evergreen Complete 4in1 7kg - 200m2
5,577 Reviews
Miracle-Gro Evergreen Complete 4in1 7kg - 200m2
  • Creates a thicker, greener and healthier lawn whilst killing weeds and moss
  • WaterSmart formula helps absorb water and nutrients more effectively, helping to protect your lawn against drought and stress
  • For ideal results, apply using an EverGreen or Scotts spreader to ensure even coverage
  • After applying this product in accordance with the label instructions keep children and pets away from treated areas until the granules have been watered in thoroughly and the areas have dried
  • Use from April to September

Moss is a common problem throughout the UK; it’s often a result of poor growing conditions and, as it favours wet and shady conditions, the good old British weather couldn’t be more ideal! It often occurs when grass cover is sparse or where soil is compacted or has become waterlogged.

When you take into account that 2020 has already given us some of the wettest months on record, we think it’s safe to say we’re best preparing ourselves for an imminent mossy invasion!

Only got 5 minutes

Does my lawn appear uneven in colour and texture?

Are there coarse, loose, greeny/yellowy tufts?

Does my lawn feel spongy to walk on?

Can I see densley-matted clumps of growth?

Are there patches of growth that look like miniature conifers?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, it’s likely you have a moss problem! Fear not though as, with the right moss killer, it’s relatively straightforward to remove this unwanted green growth from the surface of your lawn.

The best moss killer for lawns will get to work quickly, desiccating the moss, killing it off, ready to be cleared from the area with a rake or scarifier. In most cases, moss tends to be a temporary problem following periods of drought or extreme rainfall/flooding, however should your moss problem prove more persistent, this is likely to suggest there’s an underlying issue and you’ll need to investigate the cause before taking the necessary remedial action.

The best way to keep moss at bay is to take steps to improve the overall health of your lawn.

Types of moss killer for lawns

The first question you’ll need to ask yourself is: How bad is my moss problem?

If we’re talking large areas of tufty growth; varying shades of lawn, and a spongy surface, this indicates moss has taken a liking to your turf and you’ll need a dedicated moss killer to send it packing.

If you’re only looking at a patch or two, particularly in damp or sparse areas of your garden, then you’ll probably be able to get away with an all-in-one lawn treatment, which incorporates lawn feed, weed killer and moss control all into one product.

If you’re a ‘one size fits all’ kind of gardener with a manageable moss problem, an all-in-one lawn treatment may well do do the job however, for the more meticulous horticulturist, applying lawn feed; killing off weeds; and desiccating moss are regarded as three separate gardening headaches and so should be dealt with individually, using product tailored towards treating that specific problem.

Liquid Vs Granular

Moss killer for lawns will come in either liquid or granular/powder form.

Liquid moss killer for lawns tend to get to work faster than granules or powder products, however some professionals regard them as being less invasive than granular moss killers as depending on the thickness of the moss, they may struggle to penetrate all the layers.

Granular products may take a little longer to work than liquid moss killer products however they’re denser and so are more effective at desiccating whole clumps of moss, even the lower layers. They’re usually applied dry and become active once activated by water; during prolonged dry periods, some products have the option of being diluted prior to application and distributed using a sprayer or, for smaller areas, a watering can.

If you do decide on a granular moss killer, you’re likely to find yourself having to go for a multi purpose lawn product as the majority of powder/granular products are generally lawn feed/fertilisers with added moss control.

Chemical Vs Non-chemical moss control

There’s a huge range of chemical moss control products to choose from online, however, if you’re worried about children or pets; would rather not mess with the pH level of your soil; or simply want to keep things organic, there are plenty of non-chemical alternatives to choose from when it come to bringing your moss under control.

The best non-chemical moss killer for lawns will claim that although they may take longer to work than chemical-based formulations, their bacteria-based formulas will not only combat your moss problem, they’re also improve the overall health of your lawn. You’ll need to mow your lawn short directly below application, apply,  leave for between 1-2 weeks depending on the rate of regrowth, and then re-mow. An added benefit of non-chemical moss killers is that the dead moss should break-down during the 1-2 week period, eliminating the need for scarifying.

Best chemical moss killer for lawns

When it comes to chemical formulations, the best moss killer for lawns will contain sulphate of iron (also known as ferrous sulphate) which is a chemical compound that, when contained within a proprietary lawn moss killer, usually in pelleted form, is not only an effective moss killer but also great for improving the overall appearance of your lawn, as well as being easy to apply. Sulphate of iron is usually applied in spring or autumn; after 14-21 days, the moss should have turned black in colour, which signals it’s ready to be removed by scarifying. If some moss still remains after scarifying, wait 14-21 days before reapplying moss killer containing iron sulphate otherwise you run the risk of burning your lawn.

After using a moss killer containing iron sulphate it’s best to keep children and pets away from the treated area for at least 24 hours, although always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines to check. 

Best Budget – Moss Killer

Pro-Kleen 2.5 KG PREMIUM Iron Sulphate (Makes up to 2500L When Diluted & Covers up to 2500m2) Pure Lawn Tonic- Ferrous Sulphate of Iron Lawn Conditioner and Turf Hardener. Dry Powder easily soluble in water
1,353 Reviews
Pro-Kleen 2.5 KG PREMIUM Iron Sulphate (Makes up to 2500L When Diluted & Covers up to 2500m2) Pure Lawn Tonic- Ferrous Sulphate of Iron Lawn Conditioner and Turf Hardener. Dry Powder easily soluble in water
  • ✓ DRY GRADE POWDER EXTREMELY POWERFUL, HIGH QUALITY PREMIUM 3-in-1 FORMULA: WITH OVER 10,000 SALES and 10,000 SATISFIED CUSTOMERS. TOP BRAND. OVER 350 5 STAR PRODUCT REVIEWS WITH AN AVERAGE 4.8 RATING ***** Iron Sulphate is an Iron rich and long lasting fertiliser that will encourage strong growth and healthy dark green grass and act as a turf hardener.
  • ✓ USED & TRUSTED BY PROFESSIONALS: Used by professional green keepers, lawn keepers, park keepers, sports grounds men etc for perfect pitches, green lawns, and superior golfing greens. Sulphate of Iron is used as a lawn greener and a lawn conditioner by many discerning home users across the UK to improve their grass quality.
  • ✓ HELPS TO PREVENT LAWN DISEASE: Our thoroughly researched & developed, tried and tested formula gives grass sensational colour and even helps to prevent lawn disease with its turf hardening qualities.
  • ✓ EASY TO USE: Coverage of 2.5KG approx 2500 sq metres for GRASS GREENING, 1500 square metres for turf hardening - CAN BE APPLIED WET or DRY. Best used dissolved in water for easy & even coverage but can be applied dry also - The easy open/close clip top tub means this is easily stored in optimum conditions. Instructions for usage including suggested dosages for grass greening are on back of tub.

Do I really need moss killer for lawns?

In a word, yes. Although scarifying moss does, to some extent, ‘remove’ it from the surface of your lawn, you run the risk of actually making the problem worse as what you’re actually doing is unintentionally spreading live moss to other areas of your garden. Moss isn’t fussy when it comes to its breeding ground so should any of it come into contact with an uninfected area, it’ll waste no time at all in establishing itself. With the best will in the world, you’re highly unlikely to collect up every last mossy morsal and so, once the wind picks up, the moss effortlessly finds its way to other parts of your lawn.

The solution is to apply a moss killer before scarifying. Once the moss is dead (turned black in colour), it will be much easier to remove and poses no threat in terms of infecting other areas of your lawn.

That said, if the moss on your lawn is a result of an underlying condition such as insufficient aeration, over-mowing or acidic soil, this will need to be addressed otherwise you will find moss becomes an infuriating, recurring problem which you just can’t get rid of. To allow your lawn to recover and minimise the risk of moss returning, steps will need to be taken to improve the overall health of your turf and a simple lawn maintenance programme followed..

If, even after you’ve treated, scarified and maintained, moss continue to frequent your lawn, you may need to consider an alternative to grass. Problems with poor drainage, excessive shade and acidic soil are not always easy to rectify so considering fake grass or decking may be the best option however it’s worth remembering that moss can take up residence on artificial turf in particularly wet conditions.

Application of moss killer – how and when

How to apply moss killer for lawns

  • Depending on the size of your garden, you will need to choose whether to apply your moss killer by hand or with a push-powered spreader.
  • Be careful not to over-apply moss killer – you only want to treat the moss, not the healthy turf below. 
  • Apply lawn moss killer in fine/dry conditions, ideally prior to wet weather.
  • During prolonged dry periods, it may be necessary to manually water treated areas.

When to apply moss killer for lawns

Moss sporing typically occurs in spring and autumn and this is what you need to plan your moss killer application around – ideally, you want the temperature to have risen slightly and existing grass to have shown some early signs of active growth.

Causes of moss

The most common causes of moss on established lawns:

  • Sparse grass cover
  • Worn/overused turf
  • Shaded areas
  • Compacted soil in need or aeration
  • Wet weather and waterlogged conditions
  • Drought-stressed grass
  • Over-mowing
  • Under-nourished turf
  • Infertile soil
  • Poorly prepared or poorly maintained lawns
  • Acidic soil conditions
  • Damp conditions/poor drainage

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure and so, if you’re about to lay a new lawn, it’s worth taking the time to plan, prepare and carry out the job properly. Thorough site preparation should ensure moss control is rarely required on a new lawn however, if you do notice moss making an unwanted appearance, be sure to apply a moss killer that’s intended specifically for use on newly-laid lawns – a lot of products are intended for use only on established lawns, or after a set number of mows.

Moss prevention

Getting rid of moss isn’t a particularly challenging task however keeping it at bay can be! Maintaining a healthy lawn is the best preventative measure you can take and, although it may seem tedious, it’ll save you hours of work in the long run should your moss decide to make a return! 

  • Use lawn feed/fertiliser regularly, particularly during autumn
  • Reduce shade
  • Aerate compacted or sparse areas
  • Avoid over-mowing/mowing your lawn too short
  • Neutralise acidic soil (loved by moss!) with an application of garden lime
  • If your lawn has a tendency to become waterlogged, aerate and take steps to improve drainage

A typical moss treatment programme

If your garden is prone to moss, there’s no quick fix, but by following a simple moss removal programme, you minimise the risk of it making a return:

Early autumn: Apply seasonal fertiliser and moss killerPost-application, once the moss has died, scarify the lawn; aerate and seed if necessary and finally, apply a lawn top-dressing. Apply spring fertiliser and moss killer during fine weatherLate March/early April, remove the dead moss with a scarifierRe-seed sparsely turfed areas and apply lawn-dressing

Artificial lawns

Moss killers containing benzalkonium chloride are a popular choice when it comes to controlling moss on artificial turf. Regular brushing the surface and ensuring standing water is not allowed to collect should keep your artificial turf in moss-free.

Disposing of dead moss

Several weeks after the moss killer has been applied, the dead moss will need to be scarified (raked) off the lawn and ideally, composted. Don’t be put off by the slow decomposition rate – moss is great for composting providing it’s combined with other protein-rich matter such as food scraps and manure. If you end up with a back-log, there’s no rush to use your rotting moss – keep it stored and just add it gradually as and when your compost bin tops up.

Best of the Rest

Greenforce Fertilizer Weed Moss Killer, Greens Lawn, Grey
495 Reviews
Greenforce Fertilizer Weed Moss Killer, Greens Lawn, Grey
  • Lawn weed killer and moss killer Fertilizes and Greens grass quickly
Tradefarmni Iron Sulphate Premium Soluble Fertiliser Moss Killer and Lawn Greener Dry Powder Tub, 5 Kg
181 Reviews
Tradefarmni Iron Sulphate Premium Soluble Fertiliser Moss Killer and Lawn Greener Dry Powder Tub, 5 Kg
  • Coverage of 5kg is approx 2,500 - 5,000sq meters for lawn greening and 1,000-1,250sq meters approx for moss killing - the easy open/close clip top tub means this is easily stored in optimum conditions, sulphate premium lawn tonic and moss killer (dilutes to 1,000-5,000 liters)
  • Extremely powerful, high quality premium 3-in-1 formula works often within 2 hours, Used & Trusted by Professionals: Sulphate of iron is used as a lawn greener and a lawn conditioner by many discerning home users across the UK to improve their grass quality
  • Helps to prevent lawn disease: our thoroughly researched & developed, tried and tested formula gives grass sensational color, kills moss and even helps to prevent lawn disease with its turf hardening qualities
  • Simple measurements are that a slightly heaped teaspoon is 5 grams. Just like a spoonful of sugar.
  • Use 1 or 2 grams per Liter of water per square meter for greening grass, Use 2, 3, 4 or 5 grams per Liter of water per square meter for moss control (test area to see what works beat), Use 2 or 3 grams per Liter per square meter for turf hardening and worm casts

Frequently Asked Questions

What is scarification?

Scarification is a manual method of removing moss from lawns. A lawn scarifier, also known as a ‘dethatcher’, is a rake-like tool that can be either electric or push-powered, which cuts through soil, removing moss from the surface. It’s worth bearing in mind though that moss is stubborn and, in most cases, scarifying alone is ineffective – it simply spreads live moss to other areas of the lawn; you’ll need to use moss killer first, then remove the dead moss with a scarifier.

Should I apply moss killer to all of my lawn?

When applying moss killer, it’s best to apply it to the whole lawn, rather than just the affected areas; this is because some lawn killers can affect the pH level of the soil, causing the grass to change colour. Only treating affected areas could result in your lawn looking patchy and uneven.

About Francesca Fitton 108 Articles
I have a passion for gardening and being outdoors. I blog about plant care, technology and tools that I love to use outside and invite you along to watch.

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