Sphagnum Moss as soil conditioner?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by RedTailHawk, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. RedTailHawk

    RedTailHawk New Member

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    My front lawn is probably 80% what I'm pretty sure is a Sphagnum moss. Since this is essentially a Pete, would it work well as a soil conditioner? Perhaps rinsed first to lower acidity?

    edit: pic http://i.imgur.com/5fQEo3L.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  2. Tree Nut

    Tree Nut Active Member

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    What are you saying? Is your lawn growing moss, or it is mostly peat moss as soil? If it is growing moss instead of grass it is too acidic and needs to be limed. If you want to use it as a soil conditioner you probably don't have enough to make a difference.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Spaghnum grows in wet places, is not likely to be in your lawn.
     
  4. RedTailHawk

    RedTailHawk New Member

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    No, I'm not concerned with whatever it is growing there. I'm saying i had considered harvesting some of it (it comes out quite easily, in large clumps) for my worm bin. I was curious if it would also work as a sort of mulch for the garden. I suspect it will, although yes, I don't expect to be able to harvest much. There's actually A LOT there, though. I pulled up a grocery-bag worth (tall paper) in minutes, and you can't even tell I pulled any. My concern was mainy that it would be too acidic, but after reading up on various peats, i think it will be fine as an addition to a garden bed.
     
  5. RedTailHawk

    RedTailHawk New Member

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    I could be wrong, I know nothing about mosses. It's very wet here, though, and it's on the north side of the house under a tall hemlock. It looks like exactly like many examples of Sphagnum moss I've seen online, something like this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/97/Sphagnum_sp.jpg

    It pulls out in large clumps, very easily. I harvested a full grocery bag worth in 5 minutes and you can't even tell i pulled any out.
     
  6. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    And you have a carpet of turfgrass in the same spot?
     
  7. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Red tail, It doesn't really matter what kind of moss it is. I understand your question & have tried to use moss in my compost & as a ground-covering mulch. In my compost, it takes at least 2 years to break down & is a bit of a nuisance imo. As a mulch, I love it, but then I am one of the minority that actually lkes moss. Now large parts of my perennial beds & the corners of my garden are covered with lovely emerald green moss!

    So, if you don't like moss & you have a heap of it, my advice is put it in a corner & leave it a few years, otherwise you'll end up looking somewhat like a rain forest. Hmm? for me that's not surprising, considering where I live.
     
  8. RedTailHawk

    RedTailHawk New Member

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    Really? Two years? Isn't Sphagnum moss essentially the same thing as Peat Moss? Isn't that a very common soil conditioner?

    And yes, I live in a rainforest. 1,800 mm of rain a year :)

    Here's a pic: http://i.imgur.com/5fQEo3L.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013
  9. RedTailHawk

    RedTailHawk New Member

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  10. Lysichiton

    Lysichiton Active Member

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    Red tail, that is not Sphagnum moss (Peat Moss in gardening terms) which grows exclusively in Peat Bogs (think Burns Bog - a very specialized habitat) round here, which is why people were querying you. There are many genera of mosses in SW BC. Yours looks more like a Polytrichum, but that is merely a guess. Here's a link that will give you an overview to mosses & what they are all about:

    http://bryophytes.science.oregonstate.edu/page2.htm

    It doesn't matter what kind of moss it is anyway, they resist decay in many cases because of their biochemistry & their ability to be dried-out & recover to grow again.
    Yes you CAN buy "Peat Moss" as a soil conditioner, but I really don't think anyone actually needs it these days. The "Peat Moss" you buy is the remains of Sphagnum mosses that are long dead, compressed in a bog, mined, dried, sifted and packaged. Not in any way similar to what you are pulling up in your yard.

    Why not leave it to grow under your Hemlock? I bet it looks great. If you want mulch or soil conditioner, there are all kinds of products at your local garden centre that are more suitable than freshly pulled moss. Trust me on this!
     
  11. RedTailHawk

    RedTailHawk New Member

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    Ah! This helps and is more or less the answer I sought. Thanks!

    Yeah, I'm not trying to get rid of what's in my front lawn. I like it! It's soft and squishy and needs less mowing. (Plus, I suspect I could pull almost all of it up and it would be back relatively quickly)Just curious about ways to use it, which you have offered useful information on.
     
  12. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Because it lasts a relatively long time, I've used moss as a liner (in place of coco) for those hanging baskets made of wire.
     
  13. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Moss shown is often seen in moist shady lawns. Peat moss is not limited to bogs but does seem to be limited to wet places, where there is actual standing water present for at least part of the year. Some forests have little patches of it here and there, in low spots.
     

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