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Wild Bunch Column – Gathering Moss

If you have ever tried to rid your lawn of moss you are probably fighting a losing battle, according to a fascinating book called Gathering Moss by Robin Kimmerer. The author explains that if moss is taking over your lawn it is because the grass is not thriving. The soil is too moist, too compacted, too shaded or lacking in nutrients (low pH). The moss is merely taking advantage of the spaces where grass cannot grow. 

Mosses have no root system, so they take in nutrients from the moisture around them. Their physical structure enables them to soak up rainfall, maintaining moisture in the soil and stabilising the soil surface. This supports plants around them and provides shelter and moisture for the many minibeasts that provide food for the larger wildlife in our gardens.

Moss is a fascinating and ancient plant of all, mosses capture carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, helping to protect the planet from climate change. Sphagnum moss, the peat-forming moss, is particularly important as peatlands hold vast quantities of carbon, so long as they are left undisturbed. Peat harvesting and the drying out of peatland through drainage releases the captured carbon back into the atmosphere, this is why you will find that most garden centre compost is now peat free.

If you cannot change your lawn’s environment, why not accept the moss and celebrate its benefits to the environment and to the wildlife in your garden. Enjoy its softness under your feet and the knowledge that you are supporting the planet and providing a home for the minibeasts. Instead of breaking your back raking your mossy lawn embrace the moss and celebrate its benefits. 

And with your spare time, why not join the next Wild Bunch meeting which is focussing on bees and butterflies. Taking place on Thursday 20th July, 1:30-2:30pm at Rodden Meadow, local butterfly and wildflower experts will take us on a guided walk, hoping to spot butterflies and the flowers that feed them. Find out more on the Wild Bunch page.

3 July 2023
Last Updated
28 June 2023
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