How to manage and eliminate moss growth on your bocce court.
Moss is found in most environments where the ground is tightly compacted, moist, and shady for a couple weeks or more. The issue is not that it occurs but how you deal with it. Here is a worst case type scenario where a court was left all winter without balancing the PH. The court didn’t see direct sunlight for 5 months of Fall and Winter of 2010 and it is quite damp
Moss is going to grow in high alkaline environments. If you want to get rid of the moss then you need to change the ph of your court. Whatever you do – “DO NOT TRY TO SCRAPE THE MOSS OFF!" If you try to physically remove the moss it’s roots may hold tight and lift pockets of your surface (like in the image below) and you will lose that material. Depending on the amount of buildup (depth of moss) you may start with a SHARP square nosed shovel. This technique can be used on thicker growth. If you can -”cut” the moss that is above the surface and remove it without pulling up the roots – Do it!
Note that in this image the moss constitutes only about a third of the height of this plug. The other two-thirds is surface material which is held together by the moss roots. Replacing this is inconvenient and more costly than moss retardant. The court will need to be treated two to three times annually for best results. Note that any natural surface subject to similar conditions will develop this growth if allowed to propagate. DON’T LET IT! Simple as that. If there's no excess ground moisture, moss won't be an issue.
At this point, there are several ways to treat moss. One is:
- One part household bleach and two parts of water in a pump sprayer.
Another I have recently heard works well (have not tried yet) is:
- 1 gallon Vinegar
- 2 cups Epson Salt
- ¼ cup of Dawn Dish soap (not sure why Dawn)
- Put in a pump sprayer and apply early after the morning dew has dried up.
Moss hates being trampled or otherwise agitated. I have found that while most algaecides kill moss they also convert it to fertilizer which feeds the next bloom. Since we started looking for the best solution we have yet to find anything that works better than a steel bristled broom. The costs are high for this type of tool for most residential courts so consider this... Magnolia Brush sells a Carbon Steel Wire Deck Brush (minimum size to buy would be 12") for about $17. Just walk up and down the court dragging the brush. No need to use it like a push broom just drag it. Your moss will hate you for it.
If your issue is grass or weed growth, a brush torch can be a very effective tool. The bocce court will play much better if organic vegetative “clumps” are incinerated. This should only be necessary if grasses or mature weeds are allowed to establish. None of us like to be neglected and this is how your bocce court expresses itself when left alone. Fight vegetative growth by using your court more frequently.
Once the moss has been reduced or eliminated scrape up ¼” or so of surface and massage it through a 1/8” hardware cloth. (wire mesh). By screening, you will produce a fluff that can be reapplied to the court.
Once screened, reapply the material to your court, removing that which does not pass through the screen. I like to zigzag the court with my broom before dragging straight down from each end.
In order to smooth court, we recommend that you finish with a light spray from a fine nozzle or a good rain.