​​Mosses: A Great Grass Substitute

​​Mosses: A Great Grass Substitute

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Moss can easily be seen growing in the woods or covering rocks in shady, wet environments. Japanese gardens use moss to create a tranquil atmosphere with hues of deep greens and soft surfaces. Peat moss, cushion moss, fern moss, and rock moss are a few of the most varieties that can be used to create a unique garden that is low maintenance. 

Cushion moss is very soft and springy. It grows in a cushion-shaped mound and cast a silvery hue. Also known as white moss, it grows to be 2" or more in diameter and 1-4" tall at maturity. This moss grows best in sandy soil and requires shade, partial sun only for a short time. Cushion moss should be planted around trees or someplace less accessible, not where foot traffic occurs. 

Fern moss is another alternative to planting an entire lawn. This moss spreads like a carpet to cover bare patches or create a lawn effect for excellent ground cover. Fern-like branches grow 1-2ft tall, and the plant itself spreads to a manageable 2ft in diameter. Proper growth conditions are in humid areas with lots of shade and moisture. If planted in the sun, it will dry up and turn brown. Fern moss is best for areas with high foot traffic.

Moss is easy to grow with patience. For ground moss, scratch or rake the surface so the moss can quickly adhere and keep the ground moist. Landscaping fabric retains moisture. Place moss on fabric and water. Once it adheres, cut the fabric into squares, place it onto the previously prepared ground, and keep moist. Moss does not have roots. To test, pull the moss slightly. If it does not lift, it is attached.