These days, the lawn is an integral part of every yard. Homeowners try to make their lawns as beautiful and well-maintained as possible. For this purpose, grass is often used, which has several advantages.
But like everything else, grass has several drawbacks. That is why the use of moss as a lawn has recently become popular. Can moss be a valid alternative to grass? And what are its advantages and disadvantages?
|Moss likes shade and humidity||Needs frequent watering|
|No fertilizer required||Poor sun tolerance|
|Nice looking||Can be easily damaged|
|Many varieties||Cleaning required|
Pro: Moss likes shade and humidity
The first undoubted advantage of moss is its ability to grow where grass cannot grow or grows poorly.
Of course, I’m talking about full shade. This could be the shade from a tree canopy or the shade from a house. Whatever it is, it will be the perfect condition for the moss, while the grass will grow poorly and be loose.
The next thing is moisture. Everyone knows that moss likes wet conditions and this property can be used to plant it there. If you plant the grass in very wet soil, it can simply rot.
To summarize this chapter, moss would be a good alternative to grass in places with low light and high humidity.
The second strength of moss is the low maintenance requirement.
I mean, compared to grass, moss does not need to be mowed. This makes life a lot easier for the homeowner because instead of mowing, you can just enjoy the view.
Whereas grass needs regular mowing and removal of grass residue. This not only takes a lot of effort but also takes time and even costs money.
Of course, if we compare moss and artificial grass, they are equal in this respect. Neither the first nor the second do not need mowing but agree that plastic grass does not compare with living plants.
Pro: No fertilizer required
A huge advantage of moss as a lawn is that there is no need for fertilizer. This plant can grow without fertilizer and multiply quite quickly, which cannot be said about grass.
In fact, grass needs regular fertilizing several times a season to be thick and lush. Otherwise, you won’t get good results.
What’s more, besides fertilizer, a grass lawn needs extra maintenance. I’m talking about scarifying and aeration. This is quite a complicated activity, which requires a lot of work and time. Without it, the grass will not look as beautiful as it could.
If you hire a professional to scarify and aerate your lawn, the budget can be pretty substantial. Fortunately, moss requires nothing of the sort.
Pro: Nice looking
Appearance is the next strong point of moss.
The moss has a very deep dark green color. The density of the cover is very high and it creates a unique look that other types of lawns cannot replicate.
No matter what time of year it will look very nice, whereas grass, for example, does not have a very nice appearance in winter. This is especially noticeable if the end of autumn and winter were very wet. After that, you may even get stains on the grass.
In addition, the surface of moss is much more pleasant to the touch than the surface of grass, which can be slightly prickly.
Pro: Many varieties
If you decide to create a moss lawn, you will have a large number of options to choose from. It may be a little strange, but in fact, there are many varieties of moss from which you can create unique landscape forms.
First of all, I should mention the fern moss. This is a unique type of moss that differs from the usual with longer stems. It is much more embossed and textured. In addition, fern moss is much softer than ordinary moss. It can be used to create very interesting landscape compositions.
The second type of moss worth your attention is Hedweigia Moss. This is an even more expressive moss. It has long stems to which are attached sharp leaves something like the needles of some junipers. A large colony of this moss over time becomes very similar to a coral reef.
Due to the high density of the moss, which I mentioned above, it is very difficult for insects to hide inside. The stems are very close and the insect will simply get stuck there. In some types of moss, insects will not even be able to get in.
This property makes moss free of insects, which is very important because in the garden they will have nowhere to hide and annoy people. This is especially true for mosquitoes.
Grass on the other side does not have the same density and there can easily hide a significant number of bugs or other insects. And they can even lay eggs there. All this can bring considerable discomfort to homeowners.
Another useful property of high moss density is that weeds do not germinate through it. This does not mean that if you make a lawn with moss, the weeds will not grow at all. But still, their number will be much less.
In addition, the shade and high humidity that moss prefers are very bad for the growth of many weeds. Moss can even cover some plants as it does with stones, for example.
With grass it’s different. It is relatively easy for weeds to germinate between individual grass rhizomes and you will have to remove them from time to time.
Pro: Prevents erosion
Moss has the useful property of preventing soil erosion. It quickly covers the surface by clinging to the ground with its roots. As a result, it is less easy for water to collect in streams and erode the ground.
This is especially useful in areas where water moves from hills or other higher places. Planting moss there will solve the problem once and for all.
The grass is also pretty good at preventing soil erosion, so it is equal to moss in this regard.
Con: Needs frequent watering
One of the main disadvantages of moss is the need for a lot of water. It must be constantly moist to thrive. And this applies not only to the moisture of the soil but also to the humidity of the air.
Of course, there are varieties of moss that can survive long periods of drought. But in this case, no beautiful appearance is out of the question. If there is a lack of moisture, the moss will reduce in size by half, its color will change from bright green to pale yellow-green.
To maintain its beautiful appearance, you will have to water the moss regularly during the summer months. The exception would be if the place where it grows very wet all the time. The moss also doesn’t need to be watered in winter.
Con: Soil acidity
Moss needs acidic soil. Unfortunately, it will not grow normally in alkaline soil. The acidity of the soil must be below pH 6.0. If the soil is neutral, the moss can grow in it, but the results will not be outstanding.
In alkaline soil, it will be very difficult for the moss. Most likely its color will be yellow-green and it will grow slowly.
Some gardeners use special agents to acidify the soil, but in any case, it is an unnecessary hassle.
Another disadvantage is the need for compact soil. This means that if the soil in your yard is sandy, for example, it will be difficult for the moss to grow there. It will not be able to cling to the surface and rainwater will destroy its structure.
But the good news is that moss can grow even on the poorest types of soil.
Con: Poor sun tolerance
Most varieties of moss need partial shade, but the best conditions are, of course, full shade. If you don’t plant it in full shade, you will have to water it more often. In other words, the more sun, the more water the moss needs.
There are some varieties of moss that can tolerate full sun. But they still need a lot of water. Rain is definitely not enough. In full sun, the moss must either grow near a stream or you have to install automatic irrigation.
Moss as a lawn in full sun is quite a challenge.
Yes, even regular moss can withstand a period of drought in the sun, but it won’t look pretty, to say the least.
Con: Can be easily damaged
The most annoying thing is that after creating a lawn of moss you can not walk on it. Moss is not capable of withstanding the weight of a person. If you put your foot on it, it will leave a mark that will take a long time to recover. Even dogs can cause significant damage.
The grass looks much better in that respect. You can easily walk on a grass lawn. So if you need a big lawn near the house for recreation, moss is not good here.
Con: Cleaning required
Finally, the last disadvantage is the need for moss to clean the surface from plant debris. At least 1-2 times a season you have to clean the moss from fallen leaves, flowers, and other plant debris.
If you don’t do this, it will have difficult to grow through. Large amounts of fallen leaves can create a very dense layer under which the moss will not survive.