Moss Lawn – Mossin’ Annie’s Success Story!
My moss lawn experiment has resulted in a magnificent green expanse with various textures and shades to create curb appeal. In a year’s time, 750 sq ft lawn area is 95% covered in bryophytes. As a moss landscape designer and moss farmer, it has been a priority to determine methods for universal success. Committed to quality services and products, it is important to me to confirm my assertions about moss landscaping… following the old adage, “proof is in the pudding.”
While I began serious moss gardening over a decade ago, I finally got rid of the last grass lawn sections in September 2010. I wanted to start a moss lawn from scratch and determine how long it would take to achieve solid coverage. Rather than using my typical method of contingent planting directly on soil, I used several different substrates (i.e., black landscape fabric, erosion control eco-mat, and felt). My planting technique consisted of hand-sized patches and fragments.
Since sun exposures vary throughout the year and during the span of a day, these sections get full sun; partial shade/sun; and even full shade situations. Planting appropriate types that tolerate this range of sun exposures was my first decision. Using types that I hypothesized would meet the challenge of this experimental lawn, I proceeded with: these mosses: Hedwigia, Entodon, Thuidium, Hypnum, Dicranum, Leucobryum, Philonotis, Polytrichum, Bryum and Ceratodon.
Growth rates have varied with Entodon and Thuidium leading the way. Leucobryum has earned the indignity of coming in last place in terms of overall success. Please note: Light spots in the photographs are just sun spots. The actual mosses are green without any dead patches at all. Although I’ll admit the Leucobryum in the lawn area is in a major asexual transition right now…. and, it has suffered a bit from “too much” watering as well.
This lawn is actually a bryophyte lawn since it is not just mosses. I’ve been impressed with the liverwort, Marchantia, and its ability to attach and spread at a fast rate. The texture of this 90 sq ft section of Marchantia is amazing. These liverworts provide a deeper green hue and massive amounts of magical umbrella “sporophytes.” And… it’s exciting to report that I’ve even discovered a hornwort, Anthoceros laevis ssp. carolinianus that has introduced itself right into my front yard.
It is important to provide supplemental watering in brief but frequent sessions to achieve these impressive results. Growth may be spotty or occur at much slower rates if you just let Mother Nature provide rainfall for all the moisture needs of a moss lawn.
As people begin to recognize the environmental benefits of a moss lawn over a grass lawn, a practical reference guide is needed. More insights into ways to successfully grow your own moss lawn will be addressed in my first moss gardening book. Your support in this book endeavor will allow me to share my expertise with other gardeners and landscapers.
We have an extensive and exclusive selection of moss types… and liverworts at our Mossery. You can shift your own paradigm from grass to mosses and buy some bryophytes from our online Moss Shop. Go Green With Moss!