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Can You Put Topsoil Over Moss?

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Many homeowners don't like having moss on their lawns. They invade the grass on your lawn and make it less attractive. What remedy can be done for this? Can you just cover the mossy area with topsoil so that you can start grass seeding? We asked the experts this question and here's their answer.

It isn't recommended to put topsoil over moss. It won't get rid of moss and the problem will just keep coming back. Also, the soil won't be a good medium for grass and other plants. You need to address the conditions that make moss thrive in your lawn or garden before putting topsoil on the area.

Keep on reading to know more about why you shouldn't cover moss with topsoil. We'll also tell you the factors that contribute to moss growth and share tips on how you can get rid of moss in your lawn or garden. We'll also teach you how to plant grass on a moss-covered lawn. Let's get down to business!

Ground covered in thick green moss, Can You Put Topsoil Over Moss?

Can you cover moss with soil?

There's good moss and there's bad moss. Good moss helps make your lawn look stunning by covering it in a soft green carpet. On the other hand, bad moss is not pleasing to the eye. There can be patched or matted sections on the ground that give your lawn an uneven look and neglected feel.

Moss is not harmful but it can be a nuisance especially when homeowners don't really want them around or don't know how to care for them. In other words, it is mostly a matter of preference. Some love it while some hate it.

Removing top layer of moss in the garden lawn

Moss gardening is becoming popular but it is evident that it isn't for everyone. Many people still prefer turf grass over moss and that's when they see having moss as a problem.

You will notice that moss grows in damp and shaded corners of your lawn or garden. This results in having irregular ground coverage assuming that your garden has shaded and non-shaded areas. It could also be that moss has taken over some of your grass turfs. Either way, it results in the uneven ground which doesn't enhance the overall look of your lawn or garden.

A quick solution that you might have in mind is just to cover the mossy areas with topsoil so you can seed it with new grass or plants that you want to grow.

However, it is not recommended that you put topsoil over moss. This would just be a band-aid solution and might not work out for the best.

Plowed soil in the garden

Adding topsoil won't kill moss. Sure, it'll be out of sight but it won't make the soil great for planting. It would even interfere with the nutrients of the soil. It is also not a guarantee that moss won't come back.

What you need to do is to understand the conditions that make it possible for moss to thrive in that particular area and then address those issues.

Why is my garden full of moss?

The presence of moss is an indication of the various environmental conditions in your garden.

Too Much Moisture

Gardener testing the moisture of the soil

As mentioned earlier, moss thrives in damp and shaded areas. It needs moisture so that it can spread and cover more ground. This means that there's too much water in your garden or lawn. This could be due to overwatering or inadequate ventilation.

Compacted Soil

Moss also grows on compacted soil. This usually points to a drainage problem. Water is not able to flow properly toward the drainage system which is why the ground stays damp or moist all the time. This needs to be resolved or else the soil will continue to be a great medium for moss growth.

Weak Grass

A patch of dead or withered grass

Moss also develops in areas where there's a weak type of grass. It simply overpowers and thumps out grass.

Improper Lawn Practices

Lastly, improper lawn care practices promote moss growth. When you don't mow regularly and use little fertilizer, you are making your lawn or garden a perfect place for moss to settle.

In the end, it's a combination of all or any of these factors that make moss thrive in your outdoor space. To get rid of moss, you need to kill or remove it first and then change the prevailing environmental conditions that exist in your lawn or garden.

What is the fastest way to get rid of moss?

There are different products that you can use to kill moss on the soil.

You can buy a chemical moss killer. It should contain iron sulfate, ferrous ammonium sulfate, or copper sulfate to be effective in getting rid of moss.

Check out this moss killer on Amazon.

Alternatively, you can make your own DIY herbicide. Put lukewarm water on a pail or basin. Choose from mild dish soap, baking soda, or vinegar, whichever you have at home.

Find this product on Amazon.

The proper ratio to observe would be 2 to 4 oz of mild dish soap or a small box of baking soda for every 2 gallons of water. For vinegar, the ratio should be 1 part vinegar to 1 part water. Make a mixture that would be enough to cover the affected area.

Put your DIY herbicide in a sprayer to make it convenient for you to apply it to the mossy portion of your lawn or garden. Once applied, let it sit overnight to be able to kill the moss. The following day, remove the dead moss or use a garden hose to wash it away.

Meanwhile, some experts say that you can skip killing the moss with an herbicide. What you can do instead is go straight to raking off the moss from the soil. Their roots aren't that deep so it should be easy enough to remove them.

The most important thing is to treat the underlying conditions in your outdoor area that encourage moss growth. Otherwise, you will have to keep doing this over and over again.

How To Prevent Moss From Coming Back

Patch of grass covered in moss

We've discussed earlier the conditions that allow moss to develop in your lawn or garden. As we've said, you need to address the particular issues that are present in your area for you to get rid of moss permanently. Even if you kill or remove moss on your soil, it would just keep coming back as long as your outdoor area has environmental conditions that are ideal for their growth.

Here are some of the things that you should do.

  • Cut off trees and shrubs that block sunlight and wind from reaching other areas of your lawn or garden.
  • Dig into the soil and remove large rocks or organic matter in the soil that hinders proper water drainage.
  • Aerate the soil by using a mechanical plug aerator. The small holes in the soil will reduce compaction and allow water, air, and nutrients to go deeper, making the soil richer.
  • Check the soil's pH level. Moss grows best in acidic soil. You'd want to improve your soil pH level to 6 or 7 to make it ideal for plant growth.
  • Mow the lawn regularly. Cut the grass to just the right height and not too short.
  • Remove dead leaves from the ground.
  • You can also consider growing grass that does well in shaded areas.

Check out this link to find this soil test kit on Amazon.

Doing these things will make your garden unwelcoming to moss.

Can you put grass on top of moss?

You should know by now that you cannot do this right away. You need to treat the soil first to make it inhospitable to moss and favorable for grass growth.

If you want to replace moss with grass, here's what you need to do. 

  1. Kill or remove the moss from the soil.
  2. Rake the soil to make sure that you get rid of all the moss (dead or alive).
  3. Prepare the soil by adding six inches of topsoil. Put as much soil as needed to level any uneven spots on the ground then till the soil.
  4. Overseed the soil with grass.
  5. Apply good-quality fertilizer to make the soil richer.
  6. Water the lawn so that the grass seeds would germinate.

Click this link to find this grass fertilizer on Amazon.

That's how you remove moss and replace it with grass. Remember to practice proper lawn care to maintain a healthy lawn.

Final Thoughts

Ground covered in thick green moss

Don't immediately put topsoil over moss. Remove the moss then treat the issues that make your garden or lawn favorable for moss growth. This way, you can be sure that you get rid of moss once and for all and enjoy the benefits of having a healthy lawn.

Feel free to visit the following posts if you want to know more about this topic:

Moss Lawn Pros And Cons

How To Get Rid Of Moss In Your Lawn