Raking Moss from a Lawn UK 

By  Enda

Thanks for taking your time to read our information on raking moss from a lawn. Thousands of homeowners will have to deal with the problem of moss growing rapidly on their lawns. You are not alone in having to deal with this problem, and below we have explained why raking your lawn is a great method for dealing with the problem.

We also explain why moss grows and how to prevent that from happening in the future. We also explain the following:

  • Is raking moss good or bad for your lawn?
  • Does raking moss help your grass grow?
  • When is the best time to rake moss?
  • Natural moss killers
  • Best lawn moss killer
  • Scarifying your lawn as an option
  • Re-seeding your lawn after moss removal.

We have been working on lawns for years and come across many problems with them. You can trust our knowledge and expertise to help you get rid of moss from your lawn, and stop it from coming back again.

- Enda mclarnon

Avoid the Frustration!

When getting rid of moss or thatch, or weeds like daisies, dandelions and buttercups, some people just get totally frustrated. We have over the years dealt with many frustrated and even angry gardeners and homeowners.

Rome wasn't built in a day, and you will not get rid of moss in a day either. It can take a full year to get to the type of lawn that you want, and that is if you follow the instructions carefully.

Like any effective treatment, there is one right way and lots of wrong ways to rid your lawns of moss.

Why is moss taking over your lawn?

The most common cause of moss is poor drainage. You will get moss on top of grass, or indeed on top of patios, tarmac, pavings etc, if water is allowed to settle and there is no fast way of draining this off. Moss is basically a small plant that thrives really well in damp and shady conditions.

As many of you will know it can spread and thicken quite quickly. The "good news" is that moss doesn't have any roots, and that is why it is possible to use a rake to remove it.

There are other reasons why moss grows on your lawn, but all of these point to a weakness in the growth of your grass. It could be poor soil condition, poor circulation, compacted soil etc. Later in this article, we will offer you a few suggestions for finding out and solving exactly what is wrong, and how to prevent the moss from growing back.

However, the problem you have right now is how to get rid of the moss, so let's deal with that!

Should you rake moss from your lawn?

A few of our readers have asked us is raking moss good or bad for your lawn? The simple answer is that raking moss is very good for your lawn. Moss is unsightly and if left to its own devices it will eventually take over the lawn. That will turn your lawn into a giant sponge and it will look horrible. Time to get the rake out.

When should you rake?

In the UK, the best time to rake moss from your lawn is in the Autumn. Ideally the months of September and October are the best months for raking away moss.

If the Autumn period is not suitable, then you can also rake out moss in the Spring. The months of March and April will also work well.

How to rake moss from you lawn?

This is the important part to understand for most gardeners. You will have a number of decisions to make and that will depend on your circumstances, and also on whether you want to use only natural methods, or use some type of moss killer. We will explain both of these options just below.

Should You Use a Rake or a Scarifier?


Using a scarifier to remove moss

using a rake to remove moss

Using a rake to remove moss

You may hear gardeners use the term "scarify" and we want to briefly explain what that means. A scarifier is a mechanical machine that rakes your lawn. So you really have two choices to make. You can use a normal garden rake known as a spring-tine rake, or buy or hire a mechanical scarifier.

Using a Rake - For small lawns a rake will do exactly the same job, but will mean you have to do this by hand. It will take time and it will take some physical effort on your part. This works really well for small patches of moss or for really small gardens. Anything outside this is just going to be a lot of time and effort. On average the cost of a rake is about £20-30 and will get regular use so a good investment.

Using a Scarifier -  Renting out a scarifier will get the job done really quickly but there is the cost of renting to consider. We seldom recommend buying a scarifier, because it will not get regular use, and just end up taking up space in your shed or garage. We think these are necessary for large areas of moss or thatch, and for medium to large garden sizes.

On average to rent a good quality petrol scarifier in the UK costs about £70 a day. To buy an electric scarifier costs about £150 on average.

How to get rid of moss in a lawn naturally?

If you have decided on your weapon of choice, rake vs scarifier, then your next decision is do you want to remove it naturally? We always recommend trying a natural method first. That is simply rake it and check if it is lifting off your lawn. Sometimes this works really well, and that really depends on how long the moss has been growing.

If there is little moss or just a surface moss, then it will lift easily. In most cases though, it will need some type of treatment to get rid of it.

Best Lawn Moss Killer

Miracle-Gro Evergreen Complete 4 in 1

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If you want some help to remove moss from your lawn, then something like this Miracle-Gro Evergreen Complete 4 in 1 is an extremely popular choice.

You spread this evenly on the lawn and in around 7-10 days it will have killed off moss and weeds, but not the grass.

It also helps fertilize the lawn and that helps produce greener and thicker grass on your lawn

After 7-10 days, you can then rake your lawn and remove all of the moss. These are basically small granules that need watered in to activate them.

The disadvantage of using this type of weed killer is that it isn't safe for pets and children for a couple of weeks.

One thing we want to point out is that there are lots of brands who make some version of these lawn treatment products. No matter which brand you pick, it is really important to follow their instructions carefully, and avoid just doing your own thing.

Tips to Preventing Moss Growth on your Lawn

There are several types of moss that grow in UK gardens. These can be identified as they are loose, green or yellow tufts that look quite coarse. These form together to make a bed of matted tufts. There is also a moss known as Polytrichum, and they look like very small Christmas trees. They, along with other moss species can if allowed take over your garden.

What Conditions Favour Moss Growth?

Before you can prevent moss from growing, we think it is important to properly understand why moss can quickly take over areas of your lawn. Moss will grow where there is:

  • Light grass cover or worn areas of grass
  • In areas where there is a lot of shade, such as under trees or high hedges
  • When there has been a lot of wet weather and the ground is waterlogged due to poor drainage
  • If the grass is not watered during longer dry periods
  • If the lawn was not properly prepared when sown or hasn't been looked after for long periods
  • If the lawn has been regularly mowed too short
  • If the soil underneath the grass is compacted or in generally poor condition such as acidic soil

Dealing with Poor Drainage

So as you can see, one or a few of the above conditions could be causing moss to grow on your lawn. We have found over the years that waterlogged ground with poor drainage (and poor air circulation) is usually the problem. That simply means the soil was not prepared properly in the first place.

It can be a big enough job to fix that but there are a few options. We have written a full article on those methods, and you can read that by clicking on the button below.

Dealing with Shaded areas

As we mentioned, areas that get a lot of shade can cause moss to build up. It really does depend what is causing the shade as to how easy or difficult it is to remedy. For example, there is nothing you can do if the shade is caused by a garage wall. It just isn't practical to move the garage.

the biggest shade problem most home owners encounter is a tree or a few trees that clock out the sunlight on the lawn. That can allow moss to start growing on the lawn. It may be possible to remove some branches or even prune the tree, if that is something you feel confident in tackling yourself. Likewise you can do the same with tall shrubs or hedges.

Good Lawn Maintenance to prevent Moss

Unless you are a keen gardener, it is fair to say, that the average homeowner will not spend a lot of time maintaining their lawns. The vast majority of people will cut their grass during the summer to keep it neat and tidy. Other than that a great deal of people really will not do much more than that.

Lawns do benefit a great deal if just a little more time is spent treating them with with just a little more work. Feeding is important for lawns, and regular watering is important especially during periods of drought. If this is done properly, then it goes a long way to preventing moss and other weeds from growing and taking root. It also makes your lawns look much greener and heathier.

Dealing with Poor Soil

Last but not least, caring for your soil is another key method of stopping moss from growing. As you know grass that is trying to grow on poor quality soil really struggles to grow properly, and poor soil is also a major cause of moss and weeds growing on your lawns.

There are a number of remedies to help treat soil. These can be as simple as adding some grit, lime or other additives to help drain and enrich the soil.

Resources Used

Moss Types - Wikipedia

Polytrichum moss - Oxford University Plants


I am someone who enjoys a little gardening. Now I am not someone who spend hours in the garden, but I do like both my front and back gardens to look really nice. Well kept lawns, neatly trimmed hedges, and borders filled with plants, make a huge difference, to how your property looks.

Enda McLarnon

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