How to Remove Moss, How to Encourage It: Two Views of a Rootless Plant

Posted by: on March 23rd, 2012 | 4 Comments
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So is moss a good thing? Or a bad thing?

There’s been a little back and forth on this recently on The Home Depot’s Community Forums, with some handy tips not only on how to remove moss, but also how to encourage the growth of moss.

It started when Forum associate LawnRanger mentioned in his post, Get the Moss Out, that he’d been getting questions from Community members about how to get rid of moss from lawns and patios. “Moss is nice and green, but as with all weeds, if it is in the wrong place, it has to be removed,” LawnRanger astutely pointed out.

Moss is nice, but if it’s in the wrong place, it has to be removed.

He’s right, of course. A mossy deck doesn’t look so nice, and it can be slippery. Moss on a brick wall or on the side of a brick home can spoil the look of a manicured garden. In a lawn, moss can ruin the carpet of green that many lawn lovers try to achieve.

LawnRanger recommended two products to control moss: Moss Out, a granular treatment you apply to moss when the moss is wet; and Worry-Free Moss & Algae Control, which is an environmentally-friendly formula with citrus oil. You attach a bottle to your garden hose and give your mossy patio, deck or fence a spray.

But Forum associate BostonRoots in her online reply, Bring on the Moss, puts in a good word for the “rootless vegetation,” as she calls it. For her, it’s not a matter of how to remove moss, but how to encourage it.

She writes quite lyrically about the mossy back yard of her youth:

“There was one section that was always green and lush. A tiny portion, at the foot of a crimson king maple. Moss grew thick in the creases and crevasses around the massive trunk, and exposed chunky root system. I could always count on that spot to be cool, and soft under my toes.”

OK. So maybe we need to reconsider the need to eradicate ALL moss.

Moss is timeless.

Moss certainly can be very desirable, depending on where it is, and on the look (and feel) you want for your garden. “Moss is timeless, it can make new things look old, it adds life to inanimate objects,” BostonRoots says.

She describes how to paint pottery, concrete or stone with a buttermilk- or yogurt-based concoction that will encourage the growth of moss. Take a look at her post on the Forums for the recipe.

If you have questions, either about how to remove moss, or how to encourage it, LawnRanger and BostonRoots will be pleased to advise you. And if you’d just like to tell your story about why you love (or hate) moss, we’d love to hear from you, too. That’s exactly the kind of discussion you’ll see every day on the Home Depot Forums.


Want more advice from our experts? Join the conversation. Visit the Forums for DIY tips and tricks from our store associates. From the Forum Friday is our weekly column highlighting expert advice.

Top photo: (cc) redagainPatti
Bottom photo: (cc) skyehopper


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  1. beverly roberts says:

    How about you talk about the area in which us that receive info. Like we live in Arizona which is HOT AND WARM. Your planting instructions are PLANT IN FULL SUN. You need to get the RIGHT planting instructions for this area and it isn’t plant everything in FULL SUN. It doesn’t work. We have lived here for 50 years and if we would have listened to your words and instructions all our vegitation would have died years ago.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Beverly.

      You’re right, this article wouldn’t really pertain to Arizona’s climate, where there isn’t much of a problem of moss growing on decks or choking lawns. I don’t see in this particular article where we recommend growing moss in full sun, but perhaps you’re referring to another article.

      You make a good point, though. And it’s a point we’re trying to address with our Home Depot Garden Club. There on the online “front page” you’ll see a monthly gardening To Do list. Click on that, and you’ll be able to see current gardening recommendations broken down by region. I’m guessing you’re in either Zone 8 or 9.

      And it sounds like we should try to be more specific about what regions are affected in all of our gardening information– on the Garden Club and here on the Apron Blog.

      Thanks for taking the time to give us your feedback.

      Craig, from The Home Depot

  2. Linda says:

    Hello, I let my daughter have some bulbs a few years ago & w/ the bulbs was a tiny piece of moss. Where she planted the bulbs the moss grew over the top of the gladiolus & around her rose bushes. In the little plant space in the front of her house, it’s a pretty moss we think. It’s help save her roses. Now, after the gladiolus have bloomed . The roses are in bloom now & w/ all the colors of the roses it looks pretty w/ the moss as a ground cover. If the snail eat the moss, instead of the rose leaves. Peace-Out Linda