It is hard enough keeping up with the invasion of weeds in your garden without having plants conspiring against you. I am currently trying to eradicate both spurge and moss from the garden. Since both of these terrorists are tiny and prone in development, they have found an ally in baby tears. 45 years ago we bought a 4 inch pot of baby tears. Do I need to tell you more? For decades it has been a challenge keeping baby tears confined. Now to confound my frustration, they have buddied up with not only the moss, 2 species of spurge, but even the Johnny Jump-Ups have joined the conspiracy. My response to these chums is “Burn baby, burn”! You would think that the word would get out and the baby tears would stop there conniving behavior. But, no—the battle ensues on a daily basis–and will until I run out of gas.
Oh, by the way, would you like a clump of baby tears?
For some reason this year my garden has been under an intense attack of moss plants. I suppose the most likely cause is the drought we’ve experienced. Perhaps moss plants sense a coming doom and have sent out a flood of spores. Normally I blame unusual weed seed dispersal on my leaf blower, but moss plants are appearing where that cause is unlikely. What I’ve decided is the most likely hypothesis is the fact that moss plants are growing on the roof—particularly in the shade of our huge hackberry tree—and the spores are being spread throughout the garden by the wind.
I googled moss on roofs and learned that not only will moss plants tend to lift asphalt shingles, but also causes them to deteriorate. More research revealed solutions. There is a product called “Moss Out” that is designed to kill moss on roofs. I thought $20 for a bottle was a little much, but I bit the bullet. Before I applied a diluted solution, I spent two days scraping as much moss off the shingles that I could. The most effective tool for this task was my trusty 2 x 5 trowel that I keep urging you to buy. Then, using a hose, I washed the debris off the roof and collected the runoff in a rain barrel. This seemed to be far more logical than using my leaf blower. The moss plants are supposed to be first wet anyway. I then applied the solution.
I checked the roof several days later, and frankly, was not impressed with the results. Perhaps the moss was deader than it looks. It’s not as though it’s going to wilt or something. Not to be deterred, I moved on to the next idea: Apparently the metal zinc is toxic to moss plants. I have ordered a 50-foot roll of zinc metal sheeting. When it arrives, I will install it along the ridgeline so the when it rains, the dissolved zinc will flow over the moss plants and kill them. This is supposed to be a slow process and results may not appear for several months during the rainy season, but I am patient as well as persistent.
If you have experienced a similar attack of moss in your garden, you might simply need to look above you to find the source of the invasion.
Stan, The Moss Man
P.S. My wife insists on a disclaimer that I am not encouraging you to get up on your roof. You might instead hire a professional moss scraper instead.