How to Grow Moss



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How to Grow Moss

About Moss


The other day a southern friend lamented the seven months of lawn mowing ahead of him. I have a suggestion. Put the lawnmower away and grow moss! Although moss isn?t as durable as grass, it needs no mowing or fertilization and once established less water than turf grass.

Moss is one of the unique ground cover alternatives you can add to your yard, pathway, or garden. The most common types of moss are Peat mosses (Sphangnopsida), Granite Mosses (Andreaopsida) and True moss (Bryopsida or Musci). Although some varieties appear to have roots, stems, and tiny leaves, moss lacks the developed vascular structure found in higher plants.

How to Grow Moss

Choose one of three methods to grow moss.

Grow it directly from spores, paint it, or grow it from transplanted plugs.

Growing Directly from Spores

Moss neither flowers nor sets seed. Instead, moss propagates by spreading spores. Purchase moss spores from one of many friendly Internet vendors.
Because moss lacks a developed vascular structure, it can?t draw nutrients and moisture from the soil like higher plants do, so in spreading moss spores, any type of soil will do. Mix a little soil with a lot of water and pour the mixture into a shallow tray with no drainage. Use enough water so that after a couple of minutes, the soil sinks and water rises to the top.

Sprinkle moss spores over the soil and water mixture. Let it stand for about one hour.
Then mist the mixture evenly with water thoroughly moistening it, but not enough to move the spores. Moisten the mixture daily for two to three weeks.
After sprouting, protect your moss from too much rain and high winds by keeping it indoors for at least a month. Make sure to keep it moist.

Painting Moss

  1. Put a handful of the moss into a blender, first removing as much dirt as possible.
  2. Add 1/2 tsp. sugar and one can of beer or buttermilk.
  3. Blend just long enough to mix the ingredients and break down any chunks.
  4. Use a rubber or plastic spatula to spread the mixture over the area you want to cover.
  5. Once you've spread the moss mixture, protect it from heavy rainfall and high wind.

Moss Transplants

Transplants should be the size of an outstretched hand. Use a garden spade or a knife with a long stiff blade to cut out ?plugs? of moss. Many moss varieties only need the thin layer (less than 1/4 inch) of soil that clings to the plant?s rhizomes. Plant the plugs at spaced intervals. In time, they will grow together into a carpet of verdant green moss.

Moss Imposters

Some higher plants use the name moss. These plants include club moss, flowering moss (pyxie), Irish moss, reindeer moss (a lichen), and Spanish moss. Although not truly moss, these plants often are sold as alternative ground covers to grass.

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