If you’ve ever walked barefoot on a forest floor, you probably know how nice the soft, damp moss feels under your feet. Moss is ideal for gardens because it retains moisture and doesn’t need mowing like grass. You can also spread a moss mix on your garden fence, a foundation, or large rocks to give them the aura of an enchanted forest. To plant moss, you only need to do a little work at the beginning; after that, it will take care of itself for years.
If you already have moss in your lawn, you can gently remove it from the ground with a spatula. If you don’t have moss nearby, go to the nursery and see what they can offer you. For example, buy acrocarpic moss or moss with long strands resembling hair. Alternatively, you can use pleurocarp moss or other moss that grows in short, horizontal patterns. Moss doesn’t have a proper root system, so don’t worry about breaking anything.
Moss is certainly not particularly demanding, but it prefers a humid climate. So choose a spot in your yard that will flood during heavy rain, such as at the bottom of a hill. Moss can even ensure that the water drains off better. Since moss does not form a root system, it also grows on rocky ground where, for example, grass would hardly stand a chance.
Most types of moss don’t do well in direct sunlight because they need a lot of moisture. Look around your yard and find a spot that doesn’t get too much direct sunlight, like under a tree or against the wall of a house. A few moss varieties also grow in the sun, but they are rather rare.
Get special test strips to find out. Moss prefers acidic soil with a pH of 5.0 to 6.0. So you may need to adjust the pH depending on how your test turns out. If you are planting in soil or flat surfaces, ensure the surface is as smooth as possible. Unlike grass, you can still see small bumps and holes in the ground after you plant moss over it. You can mix lime into the soil to raise the pH. Mix sulfur, aluminum sulfate, ferrous sulfate, or mulch into the soil to lower the pH.
Rake up leaves and debris and remove them from the area. Then you should rake the ground, so it is as level as possible. Press the moss strips onto the desired area with light pressure to hold. You can also push some moss onto rocks or rocky ground, but the majority should be on soil.
Use a sprinkler or garden hose with an attachment that sprays the water finely, as too much water pressure can damage the moss. Alternatively, you can use a gentle watering system that will keep your moss constantly moist. If the moss looks dark green or blotchy, you’re probably overwatering it. After about a month, you can reduce the amount of water, but moss should always remain moist if possible. You’ll know it’s attached when you can gently pull on it, and it doesn’t move anymore.
Weeds, especially grasses, can steal moisture from the moss, causing it to dry and become brittle. If you notice any weeds around your moss, pull them out by the root. Keep an eye on your moss throughout the season and ensure it has enough space to grow and thrive. Moss cannot drive away grass or weeds, it only covers areas where grass or weeds would otherwise grow. Moss can spread quickly in your yard or lawn, especially if you have a large unplanted area. If your moss gets out of control, you can rip it out with your hands to stop it from spreading.
Use a spatula to scrape the moss off the ground or a vertical surface like a wall or fence. Look for pleurocarp moss, or moss that grows relatively short and in a horizontal pattern. The other moss has long strands and does not grow well on alternative surfaces.
Buttermilk is acidic and sticky, making it the ideal base for moss. Pour equal parts of water and buttermilk into a blender to mix up your moss smoothie. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use yogurt.
Take a few handfuls of crumbled moss and sprinkle it into the blender until full. You can use dry or wet moss. You don’t have to measure the amount exactly, but if in doubt, it’s better to have a little more than too little.
Pulse the blender four or five times until the ingredients are well combined. The consistency should be similar to that of a milkshake or smoothie. Don’t let the blender run too long. If you break up the moss too much, it may not grow back properly.
Since buttermilk is very sticky, it also gives moss support on vertical surfaces. Choose a shaded surface that you can water easily. Use a rag or brush to spread the mixture on your fence, flower pot, rock or brick wall, or even your house wall. If the result is particularly chic, you can draw a pattern or even write words with your moss.
As it grows and spreads, it needs to be kept well moist. Use a watering can and water it every day for the next few weeks until it looks rich and green. Protect the moss from sunlight to keep it cool throughout the day. You can also water it from a spray bottle if that’s easier.
Because moss gets its nutrients from the air rather than the soil, it is easy to care for and doesn’t need fertilizer. Once you’ve laid out your moss, you can place a board or other solid object over it to hold it down permanently.
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