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Moss vs Grass: Which one is best for a lawn?

People are always trying something new or unusual. And so it is in our case, many people want to compare moss and grass as lawns or as ornamental plants. Here you will learn everything about these two plants.

The main difference between grass and moss is that moss does not need to be mowed and grass needs to be cut every week. The next difference is that moss needs shade or semi-shade, while grass needs full sun. In addition, moss needs high humidity, and grass can grow in normal humidity. Moss does not tolerate walking on it well. The grass is fine for humans walking on it and no trace is left behind. Moss does not need any fertilizer, while grass needs regular feeding.

  Moss Grass
USDA Hardiness zone 3-9 2-11
Mowing no required
Growth rate medium fast
Fertilizing no required
Sunlight exposure semi-shade, shade full sun, semi-shade
Soil heavy, moist moist, well-drained
Soil pH 5.0-6.0 6.0-7.0
Watering every day in drought 1-4 times per week in a drought
Diseases fungus
moss vs grass

Moss and Grass


Moss likes damp places so it is a bit difficult to grow it in the yard. The best place is where there is little sunlight and high humidity. This can be a place behind the house or under large trees.

In a dry place, moss will not be comfortable. Yes, it will survive, but it will grow slowly and look ugly.

Grass on the other hand is perfectly tolerant of humidity almost anywhere you plant it. The main thing is that it gets enough water, then it can tolerate low humidity, even in full sun, and it will look great.

If you need a green cover in full shade and very damp places then moss is just right. Grass in full shade and very wet conditions in most cases will die.

But if you need to create a lawn in a sunny spot, the grass is the best choice. Grass can be grown even in hot southern climates, which cannot be said for moss.


Grass grows faster than moss, and it is also much taller than moss. As a result, you need to regularly mow the grass lawn. In fact, this is quite a time-consuming affair, and if you hire someone to mow the lawn, it will also be a burden on the family budget. And that’s not counting the need to have a lawnmower and other supplies.

Also, grass lawn needs dethatching, aerating, and overseeding at least once a year. All of these are not easy and not cheap activities.

After mowing, dethatching and other actions, you accumulate a considerable amount of plant debris that needs to be thrown somewhere.

With moss, it’s much easier. It absolutely does not need mowing, let alone aerating or anything like that. You do not need expensive equipment to take care of lawn moss.

The only thing moss needs is a surface cleanup from fallen leaves. Otherwise, the moss will begin to die under a layer of old leaves. But you have to admit that cleaning the moss surface once a year and mowing the grass every week is not the same thing.


For your grass lawn to look good you need to fertilize it regularly. There are many fertilizers on the market ranging from organic and mineral pellets to liquid fertilizers.

Some fertilizers are relatively cheap and everyone can afford them. But the price of some kits is quite high. There are even whole programs to which you can subscribe and get information and all the necessary components for fertilizing the grass.

Moss, on the other hand, does not need to be fertilized. A really undemanding plant – it doesn’t need extra minerals to grow well. What’s more, fertilizers can damage the moss. Everything that mother nature gives moss is more than enough for it to thrive.

As far as nutrition is concerned, grass clearly loses out to moss. If the cost of lawn maintenance is important to you, then moss is more suitable for your purposes.


Since moss grows very densely, its surface looks very interesting and unusual. In fact, the surface of the moss resembles velvet and it is especially beautiful when it is wet and shiny. Moss is also very pleasant to the touch.

The appearance of a grass lawn is completely different. No matter how dense it is, individual leaves will be visible and this type of lawn will look different on the whole. However, a properly installed and well-maintained grass lawn will look just as good as a moss lawn.

The unusual appearance of a moss lawn may be a slight disadvantage as many people consider moss to be something that is not very pretty and not appropriate in the yard.


A frequent problem of grass lawns is insects that settle there. Between grass leaves, there is enough space for a large number of insects. They are easy to live and multiply because the grass gives them protection from the strong sun and sufficient moisture. Particularly annoying are the small flies, which multiply quickly if you do not cut the grass in time.

Moss, on the other hand, does not attract as many insects as grass. Due to the high density that I mentioned above, insects cannot move around easily in moss. Yes, some tiny insects live and multiply in moss, but their size and number are minuscule so they cannot cause any trouble.


One of the weaknesses of grass lawns is their disease susceptibility. This is especially true for dense lawns with very little air between the leaves.

The list of possible diseases is quite long. Here you can see diseases that show up as leaf spots or large areas of grass may just rot away. Also, different types of mold or rust can affect the grass. To avoid this kind of trouble, you have to spray the lawn with different fungicides, and you have to do it regularly.

Moss on the other hand does not require anything like that. This plant is very resistant to disease, especially fungal diseases. Moreover, moss is often used as an antifungal agent. For example, peat moss is used to grow seedlings.

On the whole, by choosing moss for your lawn you will not only avoid disease problems, but you will also have a more eco-friendly lawn.


With weeds, moss shows itself very well. Seeds of other plants on the surface of the moss almost do not germinate. This does not mean that there will be no weeds, but their number will be very small.

With grass the situation is different. It is relatively easy for weeds to wedge themselves between the grass and start spreading. Crabgrass is especially dangerous because it is not visible at the beginning, but when it spreads over the lawn, it is difficult to get it out.

There are even special herbicides that do not damage the grass but are quite effective against weeds. You don’t need all this with moss.


As I mentioned earlier, moss needs a moist environment. It also needs a lot of water for normal growth. Moss can withstand periods of drought, but it shrinks in size and can detach from the ground. If there is a lack of moisture, the moss will not look good.

Where you plant the moss will determine how often you water it. If the place is very wet, such as near a stream or pond, then watering should be infrequent. But if the place is dry and there is a lot of sunlight, you may have to water very often.

Grass on the other hand does not need such frequent watering. Yes, for a grass lawn to look nice it needs watering too. In periods of summer heat and drought, grass needs to be watered almost every day. But in general, grass needs less water than moss.


As for the dirt, there are also some differences. Moss prefers acidic soil, it is an ideal environment for it. But most soils are neutral, so moss tolerates it to some extent. The only thing a moss cannot tolerate is alkaline soil because in such ground it will turn yellow and will not develop well.

Grass on the other hand requires a neutral pH. Slightly acidic or slightly alkaline soil will also be acceptable.

As for nutrient content, grass needs rich soil. It is better if it is humus or something similar. Mosses in turn perfectly tolerate poor substrates and can even grow on rocks and stones. Any kind of soil is equally suitable for growing moss.

The heavier and denser the ground, the better for moss because it has a surface root system and only clings to the surface of the ground. Grass on the other hand has deeper roots and can therefore grow on looser soil.


The next thing we need to talk about is the sun. Grass and moss have a very different attitude toward sunlight.

Grass tolerates both full sun and partial shade just fine. Grass needs to be watered more often if it grows in full sun to look beautiful. In the semi-shade, it needs much less water. In full shade, grass will not grow normally. Yes, some types of grass tolerate full shade, but overall, most grasses prefer full sun.

Moss is the exact opposite. This plant needs full or partial shade. The more shade the better. As for the sun, almost any type of moss will survive in full sun, but its appearance will be meager if not awful. Some mosses can tolerate full sun, but they need plenty of water. Growing a large area covered with moss in full sun is quite difficult.


And the last is the resistance to mechanical stress. Grass perfectly tolerates walking on it. You can even sometimes drive over a grass lawn with a car and nothing critical will happen, there will be almost no marks.

Moss is much worse in this respect. Walking on moss is not allowed, because shoe damage is left on it. Even dogs running on the mossy lawn can easily damage it. Driving a car through the moss is out of the question.

Unfortunately, moss is a very fragile plant and is not suitable for walking on it. The only way you can use it is to make stone paths in a shady garden where the rest of the surface is covered with moss. You can move in such a garden only on these paths.