Mysterious Moss

The rain from this weekend made a lot of moss come back to life around the garden. This summer lacked substantial rainfall, but the mild temperatures helped to keep some of the moss healthy and green. Have no fear when you see dried up and brown moss though. In a lot of cases, moss doesn’t die from lack of water and too much heat; it simply becomes dormant. A quick shower here and there can let you know that the moss is still around, which is what happened for us this summer. When dormant moss is hit with even a mist of water, it greens up within a matter of minutes. I can show you if you’re at the garden when I’m watering. It’s pretty incredible to watch if you get the chance. A trick they use in Japan is to water a stepping stone path in order to see greater detail in the rock. That same idea can be used here to water the moss before guests arrive.

Moss lacks a true root and vascular system. Since it doesn’t have deep roots to draw water from the ground, the surface needs to be moist for the moss to flourish. If you want to establish moss on your own, you need to have a commitment to your watering can. Once established, moss can hold onto a fair amount of water on its own (depending on the location) and can be a very rewarding and low maintenance garden solution. Before you consider moss, please consider that you need to be patient, and also that you need at least some shade, especially in the afternoon.

Al Benner from Moss Acres will be at Shofuso in the spring to talk about moss and help get a special moss project started

in the garden. More on that next season. Until then, enjoy some pictures of the moss awakening.

tree and house moss
cherry base moss

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