How to Get Rid of Moss Without Harming Nearby Plants

It might seem impossible to get rid of moss once it’s established in your lawn, but it might be easier than you think. Reclaiming your lawn involves dealing with existing lawn moss and correcting the conditions that invite it to grow.

Successful moss control starts with understanding that moss isnt like other unwelcome lawn “weeds. ” Mosses date back to prehistoric times, and they havent changed much through the years. These primitive plants dont process water and nutrients the same way more advanced plants do. As a result, normal weed killers wont kill mosses. Even powerful herbicides designed to kill all plant types fail to kill moss or prevent its return.

Though it seems like mosses force lawn grasses out, the underlying truth is simpler. Grasses struggle in shady areas with acidic, overly moist or compacted soil. Mosses flourish in those same conditions. Where grasses fail, mosses find ideal growing conditions. When lawn conditions support healthy, vigorous grass growth, mosses rarely appear.

Moss can be a frustrating weed to deal with in your yard or garden. Its fine texture allows it to spread aggressively smothering grass and other plants. While moss thrives in the damp cool conditions of spring and fall, you can battle moss invasion any time of year. With the right techniques, you can kill or remove moss without damaging nearby plants.

Why Kill Moss?

Moss may seem harmless, but this opportunistic plant can cause problems in your yard and garden A moss infestation can

  • Crowd out grass, leaving bald patches on your lawn
  • Creep from the lawn into garden beds, smothering other plants
  • Indicate acidic, poorly draining, or perpetually damp soil
  • Create a soggy area that is prone to slipping hazards

Getting rid of moss can improve the health and appearance of your yard. It also addresses the underlying issues that allow moss to thrive.

Moss Removal vs Moss Killer

You have two options for dealing with a moss problem:

Removal – Physically take up the moss to get rid of it immediately. However, spores left behind may allow the moss to regrow.

Herbicides – Chemical killers designed to destroy moss at the roots so it dies quickly. But herbicide can drift onto nearby plants.

Both techniques have pros and cons. Often the best approach is to use both – start by killing the moss with an herbicide, then remove the dead moss so it cannot release spores.

Remove Moss Without Herbicides

If you want to get rid of moss without chemicals, manual removal is your best option. Here are some simple methods:

Hand Pull Moss

In a garden bed or around other plants, carefully pluck moss by hand to remove patches and limit spread. Try to pull up all of the plant, including the shallow roots. This works best for young, light moss growth.

Rake or Shovel Moss

Use a metal rake or shovel to scrape up moss from your lawn or hardscape areas. Aim to remove roots and all for permanent results. Dispose of the moss waste in sealed bags.

Power Wash Moss

Adjust a power washer to a wide fan spray and medium/low pressure. Blast moss away from driveways, sidewalks, patios, and other hard surfaces. The moss should wash away without damaging the material underneath.

Salt or Vinegar

For lighter moss growth, make a solution of 1 part salt to 10 parts water or full-strength white vinegar. Apply it to moss patches and let it sit for a few hours before scrubbing the dead moss away with a brush. Avoid getting salt or vinegar solution on desired plants!

Baking Soda Spray

Make a natural moss killer spray by mixing 1 box of baking soda with 2 gallons of water. Spray liberally over moss. After 24 hours, rake up the dead moss. Baking soda raises the pH, making conditions less hospitable for moss.

Kill Moss With Herbicide

Chemical moss killers offer an easy and effective way to get rid of moss. Look for an iron-based herbicide specifically labeled for moss control. Check the product description to ensure your plants are on the “safe for use around” list. Here are some application tips:

  • Spot treat only moss-affected areas, avoiding contact with grass and garden plants. Use a spray shield if needed.

  • Apply on a calm day to prevent drift onto desirable plants. Mist the surrounding area with water first so the herbicide adheres to wet moss.

  • Allow the herbicide to fully dry on the moss according to product instructions before watering the area.

  • Wait at least 2 weeks before reseeding treated areas. Fertilize to help grass recover the space.

  • Dispose of dead moss after herbicide treatment. Rake or shovel it up once dry and brown.

Natural Ways to Deter Moss

In addition to removal and herbicides, certain household products can help discourage moss regrowth:

Salt: Spread salt directly on moss or use salty ocean water. Concentrated salt draws moisture out of the moss. Avoid getting salt on grass or plants!

Buttermilk: The acids in buttermilk change the pH balance to make conditions less hospitable for moss. Spray it on lightly. Reapply weekly as needed.

Corn Gluten Meal: This organic lawn fertilizer inhibits moss growth. Apply in early spring before moss takes hold. Reapply as directed on package.

Vinegar: Full strength white vinegar applied directly to moss can help kill it. However, vinegar can also damage some plants, so use caution and avoid roots.

Adjust Conditions to Prevent Moss

Removing existing moss is only half the battle. To prevent moss regrowth, you need to correct the underlying issues that allow it to thrive. Here are some common causes of moss and how to remedy them:

Excess Moisture: Improve drainage and reduce irrigation to dry out moss habitat.

Compacted Soil: Aerate annually to improve drainage and allow grass to fill in.

Too Much Shade: Prune overhead trees or choose shade-tolerant grass seed.

Low Soil pH: Apply lime regularly to raise pH of acidic soil.

Poor Grass Growth: Overseed thin lawns and fertilize to thicken up turf.

With persistence, you can eradicate existing moss and keep your lawn and garden moss-free. Killing moss without harming other plants just takes some careful herbicide application and manual removal. Adjusting conditions to favor vigorous grass growth instead of moss will provide long-term prevention.

Controlling Existing Lawn Moss

The best time to treat moss is when its actively growing. That typically happens during the fall rains, warm winter rains and early spring. Lawn mosses don’t need a lot of food or light to live, but they do need to be moist, both inside and outside the plant.

Lawn moss killers that use iron and naturally occurring iron substances, like ferrous sulfate, are very good at getting rid of moss because they dry out, turn black, and die. Lilly Miller’s Moss Out! line of moss killers includes several iron-based products that will quickly kill lawn moss and help your grass:

Always follow product label instructions closely, and only use these products on lawns. Iron-based moss controls naturally cause rustlike stains, which can affect sidewalks and other hard surfaces.

Effective iron-based products kill moss and improve your lawn at same time.

The CHEAPEST Method to Kill Moss


What kills moss and not plants?

You can mix either gentle dish soap or baking soda with lukewarm water to create an effective DIY herbicide that will kill moss. If you are using soap, mix 2-4 ounces with two gallons of water. For the baking soda method, mix 2 gallons of water with a small box of baking soda, the sort they sell for fridge deodorizing.

How do I get rid of moss in my flower beds?

In gardens, there are no chemicals for control of moss that won’t harm other plants. Your best option in flower, vegetable, and landscape beds is to scrape the moss off the soil surface using a hoe. Without real roots, it’s only growing on the surface and is easy to remove. Correct any drainage or compaction problems.

Will straight vinegar kill moss?

‘Vinegar is a relatively cheap and easy method to remove moss from pavers. The acetic acid in the vinegar can kill the moss on your pavers,’ an expert from Harwood’s Garden Supplies told The Express. ‘For the best results, use white vinegar with a solution of about five per cent.

Does Dawn dish soap kill moss in grass?

It’s easy to learn how to kill moss with this recipe that costs pennies to whip up. Just follow these three steps. For small patches, mix in a garden hand sprayer 2 ounces of dish soap and 1 gallon of water. Use gentle liquid dish soap, such as blue Dawn, which you’ll find in most grocery stores.

How do you kill moss with dish soap?

Here’s how to kill moss with dish soap: In a watering can, mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of gentle dish soap with one gallon of water. Pour the mixture evenly over the moss. After 24 hours, the moss may start showing signs of drying out, which is when you should reapply more dish soap and water.

How do you remove moss from grass?

If you don’t want to remove moss by hand, you can kill moss with natural sprays made with 1 gallon of water and 2 ounces of gentle dish soap or 1 gallon of water and 8 ounces of baking soda. These sprays cause moss plants to die back without affecting the growth of grass.

How do you get rid of moss in a house?

Mix the water, salt, and vinegar in a bucket, and then add as much soap as needed, as long as it totals less than 20 percent of the mixture. Soap helps the moss absorb the other ingredients, which then work to dry out the moss and kill it – if you have any moss on the ground, cover it with this solution. Finally, an email that Transforms Your Home.

How do you use natural moss killer for lawns?

Walk around, spraying any moss patches with your natural moss killer for lawns. You want to soak the moss, so apply enough cover it thoroughly. It is best to work with nature for optimal results with this natural moss killer for lawns, so do this on a warm, sunny day.

Leave a Comment