Mosses are primitive plants classified as bryophytes. Bryophytes do not have vascular tissue meaning they do not translocate food, water, or applied substances throughout the plant. They also do not possess true roots; thus, can live on shaded tree bark, walls, buildings, sidewalks, as well as turf. Growing healthy turf which minimizes sunlight penetration to the soil and wet surfaces are key management practices restricting moss invasion.
- Moss is a low-growing plant typically with a bright green color that forms a mat and has a velvety appearance and touch. Silver thread moss, the most common species on golf greens, has a silverish color or tint when observed from an angle. Green moss is most common on lawns.
- Yard mosses are caused by various Amblystegium and Brachythecium species and grow threadlike, erect or prostrate, and form a fine-textured mat on the soil surface or lawn. They are not parasitic and do not form true roots. Conditions favoring mosses include heavy shade, low fertility, poorly drained soils, high acidic soils, excessively wet soils, soil compaction, or a combination of these that add up to thin or weak turf. They are able to photosynthesize and “fix” nitrogen.