Moss and weed-free yards and lawns are often found only in dreams, on golf courses or in our portfolio. Why is this? Is it because eliminating the infestation of weeds and moss is too difficult? Or is it because of the recurring expense of chemicals each year? Here are a few landscaping tips on how to properly remove moss and weeds from your yard.

How to Remove Moss from Your Yard

There are a few different ways to remove moss from your yard:

  • Fix the problems that allow moss to grow
  • Manually remove the moss from your lawn
  • Use a chemical or other liquid-based solution

To fix the problems that allow moss to grow you should understand what conditions permit moss to growth. Moss grows in areas with heavy shade, poor drainage and on compact soils. This probably describes many lawns in your neighborhood or even your yard.

Take a look at your yard and see if there are any trees or shrubs preventing direct sunlight from reaching the grass for more than 3–4 hours a day or for 6–8 hours of filtered light. If so, trim the limbs blocking the sun or completely remove the tree/shrub.

If you notice areas of compact soil in your lawn that prevent water from soaking in, look into core aeration. This will remove cores of soil from your lawn to increase the amount of air, water and nutrients for your grass. Areas with poor drainage can be corrected with French drains, subsurface drainage tiles or by simply adding sand or soil to elevate the grass to receive more sunlight.

Manually removing moss and using a chemical solution on your lawn are other options. You can use a steel rake to aggressively rake over the moss, pulling it from the dirt and clearing the area. Chemical solutions can also eliminate moss with a couple of applications.  However, killing the moss but not correcting the issues could result in a re-invasion.

How to Remove Weeds from Your Yard

Weeds require clear patches of soil, water, and sunlight to germinate, making crowding out weeds the best way to remove them. However, there are a few other ways to maintain a weed-free lawn.

Crowding out weeds requires a few things.  You will need to make sure to fertilize your lawn with a fertilizer that contains a high percentage of controlled-release nitrogen to provide a slow and steady nutrient supply.  When watering, make sure to water infrequently and deeply to provide the grass with the appropriate amount of water (1 inch a week) for its deep roots, allowing the grass to grow. When mowing, make sure you don’t mow you lawn too low, allowing your grass to maintain two to four inches in length. This allows your grass to leaf and produce enough nutrients to grow fuller and prevent sunlight from reaching the bare soil.

Another option to remove weeds is hand-weeding. This tactic works well if you have a smaller lawn and when the number of weeds isn’t overwhelming. It is best to do this when the soil is wet and the weeds are young, before they flower and seed. Once the weeds are removed, reseed the lawn with grass seed to minimize the opportunity for new weeds to grow in their place.

Herbicides should be the last resort when removing weeds. The inappropriate application of herbicides can be detrimental to your lawn’s health. There are three categories of herbicides:

  • Pre-emergence: This herbicide kills germinating seeds before the seeds break through the soil. However, this can also kill germinating lawn seeds.
  • Post-emergence: This herbicide kills existing weeds that are actively growing.  There are two options for post-emergence herbicides: contact and systemic. Contact only kills the part of the weed it comes in contact with; whereas systemic works inside the weed and kills the entire thing.
  • Weed & Feed Products: These products can work great together; however, if the recommended time for weed control doesn’t align with the best time for fertilizing then you may be fertilizing your lawn when you don’t need to be causing you more labor.