Monday, March 3, 2008

World of Moss.


That means the neighbours will soon be summoning teams of landscapers. Not simply for a mowing and edging. No, during the winter, something terrible has happened to their lawns.

I will know they are here by the clouds of lime billowing past our front window, frosting our cedars. The anti-moss squads. First comes the power-raking. It takes a lot of raking to remove moss from a lawn --a funny thing about moss is that when you rake it from turf, you end up with a bolus of green stuff several times more massive than what was actually growing there. Moss has some sort of self-multiplying, flocculating reaction to being raked. If you don’t believe me, try raking moss with a hand rake. You will soon become mystified at how much moss there is, and you will give up and, if like me, go inside for a beer.

After the power-raking, you are left with a muddy scar. (Although there is still moss in there-- wait and see.) Then, to raise the pH, you pour lime all over the muddy scar, which lends to the lawn a grey, mine-tailing look that will last until June.

You can also apply ferrous aluminum sulphate to kill remaining moss. It’ll turn black for a while, but it will be back, and you will have had to handle ferrous aluminum sulphate .

I don’t know why they bother. Why this grass-lawn fetish? After automobile dependency, the lawn is the most polluting, wasteful and unsustainable aspect of suburbia.

Face it, and love it. If you have a lawn here, you are going to have moss.
"Lawns are often overtaken by mosses, particularly in patches that are shaded and humid in winter…Probably the most weedy of the mosses are Rhytidiadelphus squarrosus and several species of Brachythecium. These mosses often take over immense tracts of lawn near houses and in golf courses "(Schofield, 1992: 23).

Knowing this, is it not most sensible simply to give up? Live with your moss. Enjoy it. Walk on it. Lie down on it. Rest your head. Let it swallow you up.

Let the moss flourish. Imagine who lives in there. Imagine tardigrades and rotifers and nematodes. Try not to imagine mites (may cause psychosomatic itching).

Moss so soft you can store eggs on it. (Image from my contribution to Wanderin' Weeta's 36 Photos of an Egg challenge.)


Schofield, W.B. 1992. Some Common Mosses of British Columbia. 2nd Ed. Royal British Columbia Museum. 394 pp.


Cicero Sings said...

My husband says, why not moss? it is s much softer and care free!!!

P.S. A couple of nice Salamander pics today, over at:

Hugh said...

I agree with your husband. You don't need to mow moss.

Thanks for the salamander link. Those are the same species I used to study in Ontario. I miss spring back east -- it's so much more dramatic.