Moss Control with Mike Darcy

October 10, 2017

October is an ideal month to get some basic outdoor chores done before the winter rains arrive. In my garden, there is much to do with general basic cleanup and my lawn has patches where the moss is so thick that the grass has been choked out. Unfortunately, there is also moss on the patio and moss on the roof. The timing is perfect for controlling moss and just like there are different kinds of plants, there are different kinds of moss. The moss in the lawn is not the same as the moss on the roof and to eradicate either, there is a different product to use.

Let’s start with lawns. If you have some areas of thick moss in your lawn where the grass has been crowded out, now is the time to apply a moss control product. Lilly Miller has a product called Moss Out for Lawns that will get rid of moss in lawns and is available in both a granular formulation and a liquid. I have always used the granular as I find it easier to use since it can be shaken from the container directly on the moss. Moss Out works very quickly and the treated moss will probably turn black in less than two days. This dead moss should then be raked out of the lawn and, if our mild fall weather continues, sow new grass seed into the area.

The active ingredient in Moss Out for Lawns is iron and be aware that iron will stain surfaces such as walkways, decks, sidewalks, clothing, etc. So be very careful to keep it on the lawn. I once used it on our lawn and I had a pair of shoes with white soles and quickly discovered that where I had walked across the treated area, the soles were white no more!

Two products that will provide moss control on roofs, patios, and walkways are Lilly Miller Moss Out and Moss B Ware. Both of these products are available in a shaker canister which can be sprinkled on the peak of roofs and then the rain will wash it down over the balance of the roof. The active ingredient in both of these products is zinc and while zinc will not give the quick results that iron does, be patient as it does work.

As with any chemical product, it is imperative to read the label and especially the precautionary statements. Zinc will cause irreversible eye damage and safety glasses must be worn when these products are used. Fortunately, when I checked the safety glass section at Wilco, they had a good assortment. Never apply these products on a windy day and be aware that zinc is toxic to fish so be certain that water from a treated roof or hard surface area will not go into a pond.

With the many gardening chores awaiting us in the spring, take advantage of this time of year and get a head start on unwanted moss. Heavy moss growth on a roof can cause permanent damage and that damage can be prevented by applying a moss control product now.