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Tomaas
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MOSS - Need advice to spread moss throughout garden

Hi, I'm embarking on creating a Japanese garden, and I'm fascinated by, and addicted to moss.

Please advise if you can:
I live in Canberra, Australia (Zone 7 = cool temperate climate, uniform rainfall). I'd like to see moss growing everywhere, all over the garden beds, paths and even the boles of the trees, and ultimately even to replace the lawn - I happened once to tread barefoot on some moss in the lawn, and it took my breath away. I actually lingered on the moss, my breathing slowed and became deeper. I've since taken to slipping my shoes off and walking on the moss when I can.

Does anyone have any secrets to establishing swathes of moss? How do I get it to spread and naturalise? How do I maintain it without breaking the laws on domestic water conservation?

Somewhere in my travels I heard of placing moss in a blender with yoghurt and whizzing it up and applying it to rocks etc. I've never tried this since my kitchen equipment is for food, so I wonder if anyone has this experience to recommend it, or know of something else I can try.

Thank you.

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: MOSS - Need advice to spread moss throughout garden

It's an interesting idea. I've heard of the yogurt/mix mixture though I haven't tried it. They actually sell a carton of something called "moss milkshake" but I think the content is dried up pulverized moss, powdered milk, and maybe freeze dried yogurt and you add the water/yogurt/beer.

I don't see why you can't just chop up the moss you have -- I think it would be most successful when the moss is in propagating phase with spore stalks, etc. growing -- then mix with yogurt (or beer they say) -- blender isn't strictly necessary.

But all that is still just way to spread the moss around. They won't grow unless you can provide the environment they need. Moist, shady, acid pH....

So I would think rather than aiming for "all over" maybe start with where they are growing and try to expand the area?

I've never done this but I've read about it a lot so if I was trying to do it, I think I would remove the grass surrounding the mossy patch to bare soil, water well then put down a layer of moistened peat moss or shredded coir, then mixture of some of the moss (maybe collected from elsewhere), moss food (yogurt or beer), de-chlorinated or rain water, mixed with more peat moss or shredded coir into a slurry and spackle the area around the existing moss?

I believe this should be best done in the cool but not freezing wet season (but not heavy rains that would wash your moss slurry away) I usually see the moss around my garden being most active in spring, early summer humid season, and fall, but your climate and weather patterns maybe different.

Do you keep rain barrels (that you could make leaky) -- ooh maybe make one out of Japanese hinoki wooden tub or water basin -- or have a pond with waterfall or fountain etc. water feature? You could create areas that would stay moist, which would support and maintain moss patches surrounding them.
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