How To Dispose Of Moss

dry moss for burning
There are various ways to dispose of moss; through composting, selling it to artisans and craftspeople, or giving it back to nature itself.
Whether you find it on your lawn or on your driveway, the appearance of moss can often be an unwanted problem for gardeners and homeowners. This article aims to show you how to dispose of moss effectively and in the most suitable way for your circumstances.

Moss that appears on lawns is generally a sign of underlying conditions such as:

  • Drought
  • Excess moisture
  • Acidic soil
  • Lack of sustenance and nutrition
  • Poor aeration
  • Too much shade
  • Over mowing

I always recommend a ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach if you wish to stop moss growing on your lawn, as killing moss initially and removing it won’t stop it from coming back completely. If you want a moss-free garden and property, you’ll need to improve the health of your grass and inspect areas where excess damp builds in order to improve their access to sunlight. You might even consider an alternative to grass if the problem seems ever persistent - such as paving stones or artificial grass.

For the time being, we shall address a moss incursion you have already countered or need to combat. This can be done through scarification if the moss is present on your lawn, which is the process of vigorously raking (also known as scarifying) the loose moss away from the lawn. Once this has been done, you’ll be wanting to dispose of the moss. There are several different ways you can achieve this.

What do you do with old moss?

Old moss that has either decayed, or you simply have no use for, can be disposed of or recycled in a number of ways. For instance, if you mix the moss with other compostable materials, you can add it to a compost heap. It’s usually best to mix one part moss with four other materials, and you should ensure the moss you use hasn’t been removed from your lawn through chemical methods - otherwise it won’t be an effective use for compost. However, it’s worth noting this can pose the risk of moss regrowth once the compost is used again in your garden, so it may be safer for you to use a separate compost bin, which I’ll cover in more detail in the next section of this article.

If you like cultivating the wildlife ecosystem in your garden, then you could leave the moss around in small piles, as birds often use it to line and build their nests. What’s more, if it hasn’t been treated with chemical products, you could also use it to line hanging baskets and create a rustic aesthetic.

Another use, which is slightly out of the box thinking, is to gather unwanted moss, drying it out, and selling it at a local crafts market. It’s often considered a sought-after material by artisans who work in the craft trade, as ornaments and items you see in a shop which make use of moss will likely feature replica moss. This is because it's cheaper to source, so selling natural authentic dried moss could be a nice little side venture if you find the demand for it. This could work especially well in towns or cities where moss is hard to source, so if you’re willing to travel and adopt a bit of a business brain, it could be a nice way of making some pocket money.

Can you put moss in compost?

Moss can be composted, however this is usually an extremely slow process due to the plant’s high lignin content. It may take up to three years or longer for the moss to break down, therefore you may not want to wait that long. Or if you have the patience to do so, it’s best to keep the moss in a separate compost bin.

As a resilient species that’s hard to break down, moss produces special aromatics and phenols that can only be broken down by specialist bacteria. These aren’t found in a regular compost bin, but instead could be present in the soil underneath your lawn or in one of your flower beds, so add it to the bin.

While the moss spores can survive cold climates, and therefore cold composting, you needn’t worry about the risk of moss forming again in the garden as the compost you use will be widely distributed which significantly lowers the risk. However, there is still a small chance the moss could return so it’s advisable to keep the moss in a hot compost bin at a temperature that will kill the moss. A pallet bin can be effective for achieving this; you’ll need to turn the pallet regularly for the first month to maintain the heat required.

You can use a hotbin to compost moss, although this is usually most effective when the moss is composted in small quantities. If the small amount of moss is mixed with other waste and the hotbin is set at a temperature of between 40 to 60 degrees celsius, the heat will help kill the moss so it doesn’t survive. On the subject of using heat to kill moss, it’s worth asking whether you can burn moss with a naked flame to get rid of it.


Moss can be composted, however this is usually an extremely slow process due to the plant’s high lignin content


Can you burn moss?

Once dried, moss is extremely flammable. Therefore you could use it as kindling for a controlled bonfire or a firepit if you enjoy lighting one in your garden.

If you were camping in the wild and needed a fire to survive, then dried moss would come in really handy. So try and grab some where you can, although make sure the fire is controlled as the last thing you want to do is set half a mountain alight accidentally. If you’re more environmentally conscious, then perhaps burning moss isn’t the best way for you to get rid of it and you could perhaps try some of the other methods suggested above.