Hello Fellow Readers, Last week, I received a text from Chris of Blairstown, “Look what we’re doing today, getting the moss off the retaining wall.” He shared pictures to boot. “Nooooo,” I wrote back with the big-eyed emoji, then added a wink and a smile. To follow is the story about removing the moss madness. I hope it brings a smile (and saves the moss :^).
Chris is my dear Curt’s brother, and after ten years, there has been remarkable progress in retooling his former lawn protocols from synthetic chemicals to organic. Yay! But I have not been able to convince him to relish the beauty and convenience of moss. Moss as a ground cover or lawn alternative is cushy on the feet and doesn’t require cutting. And it adds a delightful green softness to an otherwise hard and sterile-looking block retaining wall. But I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I’ll admit years ago; I was on the floor when Chris described using his backpack blower around a colony of moss in a shady spot on the side of his house. “It’s like a bad toupee blowing in the wind.” After I stopped giggling, I suggested he stay clear of the velvety carpet when he’s blowing every single leaf off his lawn—got to love perfectionists.
Our text chat recalls a column written four years ago titled To Lime or Not to Lime, inspired by Curt’s other brother Craig coupled with Chris’s query if there was a moss killer I could suggest. (Noooo :^) In brief, for you lawn perfectionists, lime your lawn only after testing soil pH to adjust an acidic soil to a neutral range of 6.5 to 7 pH. If your soil is alkaline, adding lime will encourage moss.
Rumor has it moss can damage retaining walls which is untrue. The presence of moss is merely evidence of favorable moisture, shade, and acidic pH conditions. Last year’s overcast, humid and wet growing season was ideal for moss.
Chris texted that he was just using water with a 3,400-psi pressure washer to remove the moss. At least no nasty chemicals or bleach that would harm plants and critters. “Okay, you’re forgiven. Poor moss.” I wrote back.
Other protocols for mossy naysayers are pruning branches of trees and shrubs and cutting back perennials that are shading the walls. And, after washing off the moss as Chris did or removing it with a stiff broom, you can spray an equal mix of white vinegar and water, being careful not to spray your plants. But Chris stuck with just good old H2O.
“To make you happy, we’re not using chemicals,” Chris wrote. My comeback – the thank you emoji, a thumbs up, and a smiley face. The thank-you emoji also serves as the one for sending prayers which I do. That more act respectfully and follow the trend towards kindness towards our dear earth. Here’s to new beginnings! Happy Easter to all.
Column updated 3/28/22