Why is Moss Growing in My Lawn and How Do I Get Rid of It?

Moss is a spore-bearing plant that has a green, sponge-like appearance. It can look neat when it’s growing in areas where it isn’t bothering you. But when it’s growing on the lawn, it can be a major source of frustration.

If you are dealing with areas of yard moss in your Memphis lawn, you might not like that it can make your lawn look uneven in color. Moss can be an eyesore when what you really care about is a thick and thriving green lawn.

Fortunately, there are answers to dealing with moss. But getting rid of moss in the lawn starts with understanding what’s causing the problem in the first place.

Once you figure out what’s causing the yard moss, you can start implementing effective solutions to get it under control.

Let’s talk about what causes moss growth and what steps you should take to fix it.

Why Do I have Moss in my Lawn?

There are several possible reasons why you might be dealing with yard moss.

Moss is often a result of the surrounding environmental conditions. Since moss thrives in wet conditions if you have a shady area on your lawn that doesn’t get much sun or air circulation, or you have a spot that has poor drainage, these locations are going to be more prone to yard moss. Moss is often more likely to grow in turf areas where thatch is present.

moss growing in grass

Yard moss can also be the result of soil pH levels. While turfgrasses here in Memphis, TN do prefer slightly acidic soil, when soil is too acidic, it can promote the growth of moss.

It’s important to understand that many yards have both the environmental conditions and acidic soil for moss to thrive. You must address both issues if you want to see a change. Oftentimes, homeowners assume that addressing the soil pH will solve the problem but if the environmental conditions are not changed, that’s simply not going to be the case.

How to Get Rid of Moss in Lawns

As we’ve alluded to above, when it comes to getting rid of moss in a lawn, you need to take a multi-pronged approach. First, in order to know whether you truly do have a soil pH problem, you can have a soil test performed.

A soil test involves using a specialized tool to take soil samples and have them tested for pH as well as nutrient makeup (levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). Both are important when it comes to the health of your lawn.

soil in hands

It’s helpful to have this information because if your lawn has a soil pH that is difficult for grass to grow in, it could be why you’re struggling with weeds or yard moss.

If a soil test determines that you do have acidic soil, it can be corrected with limestone applications.

Limestone (or “lime,” which is just short for limestone and can be used interchangeably) is a soil amendment that is made from ground limestone rock. Both calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate are naturally found in limestone rock and when added to the soil, these compounds help to increase soil pH.


At Master Lawn, we will apply limestone with magnesium and calcium in the late fall or early winter. This will give your lawn time to start breaking down these materials and raising the soil pH, prior to the spring season.

This is a time period when the lawn is “least disturbed” so those materials can have ample time to work their magic while being left undisturbed.

However, it’s important to note that limestone can be applied at any time of the year and you don’t have to wait until the fall if you’re dealing with a current yard moss problem. Talk to your lawn care professional if you have questions.

All that being said, applying limestone is not a “magic bullet” cure and you won’t see moss removal occur overnight.

Actually, it can take months for the amendments to do their work and raise the soil pH. If you’re anxious to kill moss in the lawn, there are products on the market that can address it right away.

We can help direct you to iron sulfate products that can get rid of moss on your lawn. You should still amend the soil with the appropriate limestone application but iron sulfate can help to tackle the existing moss quickly.

Address the Environment When Getting Rid of Moss in Lawn

As we’ve mentioned, you’ll also need to address the environmental conditions if you truly want to get rid of moss in the lawn for good. If you don’t, then moss is only going to grow back again in the future.

The exact steps that you need to take to remedy the environmental conditions will depend upon what you’re dealing with. For instance, a yard drainge problem due to compacted soil could potentially be solved with lawn aeration.

lawn care technician aerates lawn

You might have heard that lawn aeration helps a lawn to “breathe.” What that means is that the process of making small holes (by pulling cores of soil) throughout your lawn will help to break up compaction and create more favorable growing conditions for your grass.

This process will also allow water to penetrate down to the root zone where it’s needed rather than sit atop the soil where it can grow moss. You don’t want your lawn to have continually soggy conditions.

lawn aeration plugs

If the problem is a shaded spot on your lawn, then it’s possible that regular tree pruning could help allow more sunlight to reach your lawn and help dry it out.

Ultimately, you can talk to a lawn care professional about what’s going on and get recommendations that will help. The key is to follow through on correcting environmental conditions so that moss doesn’t just keep coming back.

Partnering with a Pro for Getting Rid of Moss in the Lawn

While we know that moss can be a big frustration, if you are working with a lawn care professional, you aren’t on your own in coming up with a solution. At Master Lawn we are here to help.

We value having a true partnership with our clients—and that includes open communication. If you notice a problem on your lawn and aren’t scheduled for a visit soon, we want to hear from you. That’s why we even give out our team’s mobile phone numbers to our customers. Oftentimes they can text them a picture of what they’re seeing and get some answers quickly about what to do.

We believe that we can work together to help you have the beautiful lawn that you deserve.

Ready to have a lush green lawn, free from problems, at your Memphis, TN or Olive Branch, MS home? Talk to a lawn care expert, choose from 3 program options, and become the master of your lawn.

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Image Source: Soil test meter

Ken Alhoff

I have been involved in Memphis lawn care for over 20 years. I am married, live in Collierville and have 3 kids. When not making lawns green I enjoy recreational running, travel and am an avid scuba diver.

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