The Ten Most Un-Wanted Pests
 


Introduction to IPM

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Cranefly
Winter Moth
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Root Weevil

Himalayan Blackberry

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Moss
Black Spot

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WANTED FOR: INVADING PRIVATE TURF AND LAWNS, DESTROYING
LANDSCAPES AND WOODEN STRUCTURES

MossMoss

Aliases Mean-Green Machine; bryophytes; Selaginella spp.

Description
Hangout: Shade; wet soil; rocks, trees, benches and in lawns
Physical Features: 1-3" in height; grows in patches low to the ground, on rocks, trees, color is dark to bright green

Life Cycle
A crafty creature, moss tackles lawns when they are weakest-cool, rainy winter months, when slow-growing grass blades are less able to defend themselves and moss can take the upper hand in the battle for space, nutrients and water. Winter is also the time of year when moss will spread onto other structures. Moss growth slows or stops in warmer, drier weather.

CAUTION
AREAS ON THE NORTH SIDE OF YOUR PROPERTY ARE MOST AT RISK TO MOSS INVASIONS BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF SUN EXPOSURE.
Just Like a Rolling Stone!

1. Patrol the area

  • Survey parts of your landscape that don't receive much sun.
  • Carefully search for suspects on the north side of your lot.
    Record your observations for future reference.

2. Make a positive I.D.

  • There are many kinds of moss in the Lake Whatcom area. The mug shot above is just an example. Sometimes moss isn't typical looking, so if you're stuck, take the suspect to the pros at the Cooperative Extension office.

3. Do a thorough background check

  • Did you know moss doesn't have roots like most plants? It has something called rhizoids, which are underground filaments to help it stay put. These filaments are weaker than the strong taproots of some weeds, making moss easier to hand pull.

4. Determine the danger level

  • Moss can be a problem if it makes a lawn uneven, causing people to trip or twist ankles. It also doesn't withstand foot traffic very well, and will wear down to the soil, leaving brown spots, points of entry for weeds.
  • Moss can also cause slippery surfaces on sidewalks and stairs. It can also decompose wooden structures.
  • Moss is often deliberately included in landscapes for its natural but unique shades of color and diversity of textures. Many people transplant moss to rock gardens in their landscape.

5. Make a plan

  • Do-Nothing Method
    -If moss is not in any areas where it might be dangerous to humans or manmade structures, there is probably no reason to get rid of it.
    -If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! Letting moss grow in poorly draining soil or steep slopes might actually enhance your landscape. It's soft, green, and never needs mowing.
  • Manipulative Measures
    -Switch into S.W.A.T. mode! Rip moss from the soil barehanded for small areas. Use a rake for larger patches.
    -Burn it out with sunlight by pruning trees and shrubs.
    -Your lawn needs you! Help grass protect itself by giving it proper care. See Keeping Your Lawn and Lake Whatcom Healthy.
    -Remove grass from shady areas where it's easily victimized and landscape with shade-loving plants like Oregon grape.
    -Frequently scrape moss off of manmade structures. If concrete areas are a consistent moss problem area, remove the concrete and replace with gravel.
  • Secret Agents
    -Not many critters eat mosses because most are highly toxic to animals. -Moss is mostly controlled by its picky preference for wet, shady places. It has to fight for these spots, competing with other plants that prefer the same places.
  • Armed and Dangerous
    -Chemically arming yourself against moss is usually only a temporary solution. Moss will return to shady areas where grass or other plants cannot sufficiently protect itself from the invasion.
    -If you decide to use chemicals to ward off moss, be sure to read and follow the directions for use, storage and disposal.

6. Evaluate the results

  • Because moss is very choosy about where it lives, it usually returns to the same places. So, keep a record of where it has been, and frequently police those areas. Don't forget to record the effectiveness of any steps you take to set it back.

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Lake Whatcom Cooperative ManagementWSU Whatcom CountyWhatcom County IPM
For more information, contact Scarlet Tang or Todd Murray
WSU Cooperative Extension (360) 676-6736
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