does mulching leaves cause moss?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Oct 20, 2003.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    have a customer who has a very shady back yard. it has lots of moss. although i have given my opinion on how to correct the problem, he doesnt want to spend the dough. last year was the first year we mulched the leaves in his back yard. we did this: go over the leaves(oak) many times with doubles on. blow the scraps into a pile, and dump elsewhere. this was good enough to the naked eye, but did leave quite a bit of leaf dust. this past summer, the moss seemed to get worse. he claims its cus the way we cleaned the leaves. what do u think?
     
  2. NCSULandscaper

    NCSULandscaper Banned
    Posts: 1,557

    Personally i would think its due to the over abundance of rain we have recieved this year and the lack of drainage perhaps plus the fact that it stays shady is keeping more moisture in the ground. I have never witnessed the problem due to mulched leaves. Thats all i ever do to leaves and dont have problems with moss in shade.
     
  3. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Shade alone can add to the problem of having moss instead of grass. Throw in record amounts of rainfall too will add to the problem. Can you do an expensive soil test bobby? That will help.

    BTW, I have never had a problem either with moss and mulched leaves...
     
  4. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Shade alone can add to the problem of having moss instead of grass. Throw in record amounts of rainfall too will add to the problem. Can you do an expensive soil test bobby? That will help.

    BTW, I have never had a problem either with moss and mulched leaves...
     
  5. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,157

    That's your problem. Some people think that dumping lots of lime on the yard will help (maybe, but I haven't seen it), but you've got to thin out the trees if you want a nice thick lawn. I've got one customer in particular that has a shady backyard, and keeps spending money on all sorts of things to thicken up the grass, except thinning the trees out. He even agrees with me, but just doesn't want to thin the trees.

    I really don't think the leaf dust would be that big a problem. If they're oak, some people believe that the oak leaves leach into the ground, making it acidic. That's where the idea of dumping lime onto the yard comes from. But, you've still got a shady yard!

    Gotta love customers.
     
  6. Turfdude

    Turfdude LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,900

    Bobby, I agree w/ the rest. The shade combined w/ excessive moisture and less sun this year aided in worsening these types of conditions. Try to double aerate this property before you mulch the leaves this year. The leaf particles will get into the cores and as they break down, they'll help a little to condition the soil. It may also help if your client has the trees topped, thinned and or elevated.
     
  7. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    Tell him he's welcome to research it himself, if he likes. It's the shade and moisture content in the ground that causes the moss, not the leaf mulching. This is especially true in soils that have poor drainage, and/or low CEC. For instance, you will see moss in clay type soils, and rich soils if they are continuously moist (loves the North side of structures) but you will seldomly see moss in sandy soils. The only thing even REMOTELY close to this as a possibility would be that leaf mulch holds SOME moisture, but this is not the make or break of this situation since it's such a small amount. It's the shade, and moisture. High N will help burn it off in the Spring, but not a remedy I like. I prefer cultural practices to control it.
     
  8. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,194

    Is it moss or a type of fungus/algea?
     
  9. Doster's L & L

    Doster's L & L LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 616


    Has this customer tried using Primo or another PGR? I have never tried using this for any reason, but if applied, it restricts the grass from growing upward, instead it is "forced" to grow out. You won't mow nearly as much, but it should thicken the turf considerably. The thing about Primo is that it is super-expensive. $400/quart i think. Correct me if i am wrong, anyone.
    Also, i understand that if someone spread some form of glucose (sugar) that it will help to thicken the lawn and green it up a bit too. If anyone can go into further detail on this subject, please do!
     

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