I have a very shady front lawn. My wife and I like it that way . . . but unfortunately it is too shady to grow grass. We have a nice layer of green moss covering much of the yard, and from a distance driving by, it looks rather nice . . . not unlike short green grass. There are some big patches, however, where there is no moss. Has anyone else substituted moss for grass and had any luck? Does anyone have any experience in cultivating moss to grow in specific areas where you want it to grow? If so could you tell me how you did it? Thanks.
Growing moss instead of grass
Moss is actually fairly easy if you have just the right conditions - which it seems you do since it's volunteering.
First, I'd try to identify which type of moss you have. The care of all of them are similar, but you'd want to identify what you have if you want to try buying more to augment it. Then then important thing is water, water, water. New moss transplants should ideally NEVER dry out.
Here's a good site with some basics. If you search for 'moss garden' you'll find others.
Thanks for your helpful reply. The web site you suggested looks very promising. I also uncovered a place called Moss Acres, which specializes is selling moss and educating people on how to plant and cultivate it. Apparently there are quite a few people interested in growing moss instead of grass.
You don't need to purchase more to fill in the other areas. Just dig up some patches in the areas where moss is already volunteering (make sure roots are attached) and replant it in the bare areas. It will grow and spread out over time. That way, you are guaranteed to have an exact match for the rest of the lawn (instead of ending up with the currently bare patches covered in a slightly different moss because what was purchased ended up not being an exact match), and the moss will be a perfect match for your soil conditions since that's what's already growing there. Also, it will be free. :) Good luck!
Umgowa, we have much moss on the NE ground next to our house. There are about 3-4 different species. When transplanting moss all you need to do is scrape it off where it's growing, lay it on the ground, and step on it lightly to push it into the ground. In my region (zone 5) it grows very rapidly during rainy conditions, however it only needs 30 seconds of watering per day to remain green in the shade.
Sometimes when it rains I look outside and the entire NE slope is bright emerald. Moss goes into a kind of hibernation when there's not enough water, but in my experience it quickly becomes green in 24 hours if rain or hose watering resumes. I also notice that the center of the path were the light shines is usually brown and the moss thrives on the edges away from the light. So maybe the patches where there's no moss are places where the sun shines?
Another requirement is acid, so you might try adding acid (i.e. beer) to the soil to increase moss growth. Moss also loves compact ground which is why it often grows on rocks, so perhaps you could try stamping the ground to encourage moss growth. Also, moss feeds directly from the air so I assume high humidity will help it grow, and I guess that could be achieved by watering it frequently so water evaporates upward.
This message was edited Jan 5, 2012 2:00 PM