Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest


Grass is Green but Moss is Greener

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Moss will grow in your yard in the Northwest without doing anything to make it happen. Its requirements are the very things that many of us have in abundance — shade, acidic soil and adequate moisture. Yet, many people think of it as invasive and put great effort into keeping it under control. Fortunately, more and more of us are realizing the benefits of letting nature take its course and are peacefully coexisting with moss.

Little by little, areas that were once designated lawn are being dug up and used for better purposes such as more garden space. For those of us who are still holding on to that vision of a patch of green outside our house, consider allowing that to be moss instead of grass. Chances are it may happen whether you want it to or not.

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Think about this. Moss never needs to be watered, mowed or fertilized. As an added bonus, it prevents soil erosion. You don’t even need to weed it if you are okay with leaving a few dandelions for friendly foragers. Americans burn at least 800 million gallons of gas each year mowing grass. One hour of mowing with a gas-powered mower is equivalent to driving 350 miles in terms of air pollution. We are all aware of conserving water, even in the Northwest. The use of native and drought resistant plants is becoming a major landscape design trend in 2008. If you look around, you’ll see that nature is our best trendsetter.

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The Japanese have used moss as a design element for centuries. They try to evoke the beauty and serenity of what occurs naturally.

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The next time you are worried about the moss in your yard, take off your shoes and walk barefoot. You may just become a moss lover (if you aren’t one already).

To learn more about growing moss, check out Moss Acres, one of the few resources for moss.

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4 Responses »

  1. Not only can I now leave my pile of branches to the Bees, I can let moss take over the lawn!

  2. I love my moss! Here in SW Oh, it loves our clay soil. In areas that don’t get afternoon sun, it’s easy to grow. I spray it with buttermilk a couple times each summer and that gets rid of any grass trying to invade the moss and encourages the moss to spread.

  3. There you go. I hadn’t heard of the buttermilk trick to get rid of grass. I know if you buy moss spores, you mix them in a medium with buttermilk to grow them. So much healthier than trying to kill moss with herbicides.

  4. Interesting article in the May 1 NY Times about people who’ve replaced their lawns with moss: