Moss Experiment

So this post is going to be a little bit out of the ordinary since I’m not going to talk about insects. I hope I don’t lose any fans over this 🙂

I live in Raleigh, North Carolina, in an older neighborhood filled with loblolly pine trees. These trees, along with many of the larger and older oak, maple and magnolia trees give the area a lot of character, but they also produce a lot of shade. Unfortunately this, in addition to the high soil acidity levels associated with loblolly pine trees, make grasses nearly impossible to grow in our backyard.

Recently I started looking into grass alternatives and stumbled upon this interesting blog. I also found a great NY Times article from 2008, which completely convinced me to try and grow mosses in our backyard instead of wasting money, water and time on trying to grow grasses. For those of you who’s curiosity has peaked, please take a look at this page on how to grow mosses, from Moss and Stone Gardens’ blog. I found it very informative.

Over the past month I’ve gathered mosses from pretty much everywhere (although tempting, remember that you’re not allowed to pick any plants from your state parks – make sure you’re not breaking the law!). I’ve spread little pieces around my backyard (as shown here), and have actually noticed some growth! They’re slow growing, but it’s nice to see that I’m doing something right. I’ve got a rain barrel in my backyard, and I’ve been using that to water the mosses on a daily basis. I think the frequent watering is helping them get established, so I would suggest showing them some love after you first place them on the ground.

For those of you who are starting to read up on moss propagation, you may stumble upon ‘moss milkshakes‘. This is basically a blend of either yoghurt or beer with moss that you’ve collected. I’ve read good and bad things about this. I decided to give it a shot and I’m not sure how efficient it really was, but I think I succeeded with this method. Note: If you have a dog that is allowed to roam around your backyard, keep an eye on them. My dog went straight for the yoghurty mix.

Anyways, I’ve decided to document this experience so that I can keep track of how long it takes for my mosses to spread. Also, I’m hoping that those of you having problems growing grasses will just give up and opt for this more sustainable ground cover.  🙂

I’ll post pictures on a monthly basis.

April 2014

Backyard mosses April 2014

Backyard mosses April 2014

Backyard mosses April 2014

2014-04-16 17.06.33

Backyard mosses April 2014

2014-04-16 17.06.19

Backyard mosses April 2014

2014-04-16 17.05.49

Backyard mosses April 2014

2014-04-16 17.06.07

Backyard mosses April 2014

Backyard mosses April 2014

Backyard mosses April 2014

 

Stay tuned!

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3 responses to “Moss Experiment

  1. I think it is a complete waste of time growing grass. We just let whatever comes up stay and we never water. It is green most of the time but in hot summers it goes brown but in spring there are plenty of “weeds” for the bees. Not a lot seems to grow under pine, I’ve noticed but moss seems a good idea. It wouldn’t matter to me if it got dry in summer as it will come back as soon as it is damp again. Amelia

    • Hi Amelia,
      Thank you so much for your comment. Our front yard lawn sounds just like yours! A variety of weeds with some occasional grass. We don’t mind it at all either. I had to find some kind of ground cover for the backyard since the bare soil was starting to erode. Mosses are looking quite promising!

  2. Pingback: Moss experiment July update | Sara Guiti Prado·

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