The Groundsman

June 2013

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the Groundsman June 2013 IOG ADVICE 25 Ask The Expert The IOG's panel of experts answers your questions regarding groundsmanship issues, turf care advice, careers guidance or training matters I have a recurring problem with moss, what groundscare solution do you suggest and can you recommend a moss killer for both a sportsturf and a domestic lawn situation? It would be unfair to discuss the merits of one brand of moss killer over another without reference to results from controlled research trials (which actually one of our Level 3 Sportsturf students is currently doing as part of his coursework) but manufacturers provide their own suggestions and all products have been brought to market to do a job. What we would prefer to highlight are the cultural considerations that should accompany any spray treatments, the reasons why moss may have grown and the steps that may help prevent its reappearance. There are more than 600 different species of moss in the UK, according to the Royal Horticultural Society, but assuming we are dealing with a lawn moss (and remember it can develop on synthetic surfaces if not properly maintained) then damp, compact soils, low fertility, shade, stress and in fact a whole host of issues that may impair turf growth are opportunities for moss to gain a foothold and spread. Like many disorders it is opportunistic. Moist conditions in particular are central to its growth because it lacks the vascular tissues that would otherwise transport water and nutrients. Application of the chosen chemical and scarification can help physical removal. The plant lacks a recognisable root system, instead being anchored by thread-like rhizoids. Some products help suppress the spores that moss uses to reproduce, a potential issue if simply deciding to rake it out untreated. Management of the surface with aeration can assist the rate of water infiltration (along with possibly reducing irrigation if this is a self-inflicted problem). Soil testing can identify the most appropriate fertiliser additions and requirements for increasing turf vitality. Control of traffic across affected areas reduces stress. However, I still consider the best advice I have heard on this subject to be: "to get rid of moss, grow grass." Please contact membership@iog.org if you have a personal query or would like to share your views with our readers – we'd love to hear from you

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