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I'm trying to replace some of the grass in my lawn (in the shadier parts of it) with moss. How should I go about doing that?

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Moss grows in a variety of environments and plants like Irish Moss may be of interest to you as well given the similar appearance.

Moss cannot out compete grasses or other perennials except in special environments (think temperate rain forest).

  • You would need to remove the competitors such as grasses.
  • provide shade
  • provide a soil that is damp or retains moisture well (peat moss helps)
  • low traffic area
  • allow for weeding to remove wind blown seeds

@Ed Staub You're right that there are factors that are not clearly understood about moss growth. I have a patch just out the front door: north facing, heavily compacted, heavy foot traffic, clay base soil. This is not an ideal environment for anything much less moss.

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    My neighbors and I have been fighting moss from taking over parts of our yards for many years, and I'd hardly describe our environment as "rain forest". The soil is a coarse glacial sand/silt with a lot of gravel and without much organic matter. There's partial shade. This is not to disagree with the recommendations, but rather to say that there appear to be some important growth factors that aren't well understood. – Ed Staub May 21 '12 at 13:21
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    Ed Staub, yeah I have some in my back lawn, and it is pretty dry and in direct sunlight most of the year... Maybe I should cultivate that strain... Except people seem to want it gone for some reason. – Grady Player May 22 '12 at 2:20
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I agree with kevinsky, and would like to add that you could collect spore bodies from "fruiting" moss in the area. Non-seeding plants have a slightly different lifecycle.

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