Even the most carefully tended lawns can suffer invasions from creeping moss, but if you aren't willing to use an herbicide on your yard, do you have any other options? The good news is that moss can actually be easily discouraged from growing through grass by changing the composition of the soil below. By modifying your organic fertilizer for grass to create a hostile environment for moss, but not the grass itself, you should soon see your yard growing lush and green once more.
Testing Your Soil
Although it isn't required, it's always a good idea to have your soil tested before you begin amending it. This service is usually readily available at your local agricultural extension office, and it will give you a clearer picture of how your current conditions are promoting moss over grass. Moss prefers acidic soil with a high moisture content and low oxygen levels, and it can grow using fewer nutrients than most grasses. Any one of these factors may be enough to give moss the foothold it needs to take over your yard.
Creating a Strong Foundation of Roots
The first benefit of fertilizing your lawn with organic materials is that it supplies both the nutrients necessary for growth and the soil structure needed for a strong network of roots. Moss pops up in areas where the grass has grown thin and there is easy access to the soil below. Unlike synthetic fertilizers, organic fertilizer contributes to the structure and density of the soil, giving roots a firmer foundation and more consistent nutrient absorption.
Increasing the Iron Content in Your Soil
Grass does not mind iron in its soil, but moss is vulnerable to the element and will struggle to survive when it is present. For this reason, many property owners mix iron compounds into their soil to provide long-lasting protection against moss. Perhaps the most popular of these among organic gardeners is ferrous sulfate, which can be mixed in with your regular fertilizer and distributed based on its concentration and the existing iron levels in your yard.
Raising the pH With Limestone
Moss grows best in acidic conditions, whereas most types of lawn grass are comfortable in more alkaline environments. If your local soil is naturally acidic, you can tip the scales back into balance by amending your soil with limestone, a naturally occurring type of rock known for gradually increasing soil pH. If you aren't sure how much of any particular substance you should be adding to your regular organic fertilizer, contact your supplier or your local agricultural extension for help coming up with the right blend for your dirt and grass.