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Create a Moss Garden

Yankee Plus Dec 2015


Create a Moss Garden
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Here are Christine’s tips for transplanting her beloved bryophytes:

Never take moss from private property or nature preserves; instead, purchase propagated moss from a moss farm.

The best time to transplant is between May and October, and always after a rain.

When transplanting, match similar growing conditions, such as lighting and soil. (For instance, transplant mosses growing in shade to a shaded site. Different moss species like different light, iron, and acidity levels.)

To transplant, dig out a patch of existing moss, including the soil beneath it. Bring the patch to the new location, then press firmly to knit with the new medium. Water immediately afterward, sprinkling about three times in the first week.

To give newly transplanted moss a jump start, Christine mixes a solution of buttermilk and water and sprinkles that in. No one knows why the buttermilk works; it might be the fat or the protein, but it does seem to enhance the moss. It’s best applied after a rain; if it doesn’t rain on cue, water the moss before applying. The ratio is 1 quart buttermilk to 1 gallon water (most easily mixed in a watering can) per 30- x 30-foot square. Twice a year, in spring and fall, Christine applies a more dilute concentration of the buttermilk solution (1 quart buttermilk to 2 gallons water) to give established moss a boost.

Don’t overwater. Depending on the weather, twice a week should do after new or transplanted moss is established. No need to water if it rains; in very dry, windy weather, additional watering might be necessary.

Keep moss clear of fallen leaves in autumn and winter.

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