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Re: CULT: Ultra Dawn and Moss

  • Subject: Re: [iris-talk] CULT: Ultra Dawn and Moss
  • From: Bill Shear <wshear@hsc.edu>
  • Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2001 08:25:40 -0400

On 9/9/01 7:52 PM, "alhbee@aol.com" <alhbee@aol.com> wrote:

> I've had a problem with moss in an iris bed. Soil is red clay amended
> with old promix and leaf mold. The bed has 15 to 18 inch bottom
> before it hits bedrock. Next year, topsoil to raise bed level.
> I've tried several commercial products. The first OK, the second
> abyssmal. I scanned the internet(www.msue.msu.edu/ipm/CAT98_land/L05-
> 15-98.htm) and picked up a tip. Five ounces of Dawn Ultra dishwashing
> hand soap in 3 gallon sprayer. It does kill the moss and I've seen no
> ill-effects on the iris.

Al, I have a similar problem, and after about 2 years of lightly sprinkling
hydrated lime and granular dolomitic limestone on the bed, the moss
disappeared and has not come back.  The lime is good for the irises, too.
There's less rot in that bed now.  I see a definite connection between low
pH and more rot.

Nearly all mosses except those specifically adapted to grow on limestone
require a low pH.  Moisture and shade help but mosses are very drought

The advantage of the liming solution is that it changes conditions more or
less permanently (not really, since the granular limestone will be all used
up to neutralize soil acids in a few years, and I'll have to add more).  The
soap may have no ill effects on the iris, but it will definitely change the
flora and fauna of your soil, perhaps for the worse.  A gradual rise in pH
caused by the slow breakdown of granulated limestone will be much less
disruptive to your soil and allow beneficial soil organisms to thrive.

Also, certain micronutrients are much more available if your soil is around
a neutral or slightly alkaline pH.

Bill S.

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