Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Moss Lawns, No-Mow Alternative Landscape Surface for Dense Shade

The Moss Garden, Bloedel Reserve,
Washington State, USA
 America is the land of the lawn, and typically our clients ask Crabapple LandscapExperts to remove moss from their lawns.

But moss also can be used as a bona fide landscape surface. According to the New York Times, “moss makes a lush, no care lawn” and the use of native and drought-resistant plants like moss as a sustainable substitute for grass is becoming a major design trend.

CrabappleLandscapExperts know that Moss Lawns have only two requirements: shade and moisture. They are not a new concept, but have been used in Asia for more than 4,000 years.

Termed a “lower plant,” moss is a Bryophyte lacking true roots, flowers, fruits or seeds. The small plants are composed of leaves and stems that absorb water and nutrients directly and that reproduce by spores. Two types of widely adapted spreading mosses, sheet moss (Hypnum sp.) and fern moss (Thuidium delicatulum), are used to get moss lawns started, and then many native mosses fill in naturally. 

Many Benefits of Moss Lawns
  • native
  • fast grower 
  • grows in shade and dense shade
  • grows on poor and compacted soils (as well as on good soils and even rock)
  • grows on acid, neutral or alkaline soils
  • organic, no chemicals needed
  • maintains a low-growing profile
  • prefers even moisture
  • goes dormant during drought, but revives with the return of water
  • lends even new gardens an aged look
  • prevents soil erosion 
  • acts as a moisture-retentive mulch 
  • when dense, repels weeds 
  • combines beautifully with shade wildflowers and perennials 
  • unpalatable to deer 
  • walkable surface 
  • does not need fertilizer 
  • needs much less water than standard turf  
  • needs very little maintenance

Moss Lawn
 Interesting in exploring options for deep shade? Ask Eric High, Crabapple Enhancements Estimator, about converting to a moss lawn on a property you manage at 770-740-9739.

Digging Deeper

Read Steve Bender’s August 2012 article in Southern Living Magazine on Moss Lawns:

Sheet moss (Hypnum sp.) and Fern moss (Thuidium delicatulum) are available by mail order from in Raleigh/Durham NC and in Massachusetts.

New York Times article headlined “Moss Makes a Lush, No Care Lawn.”

and another Lawn Alternative:

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