Which mosses are commonly found in lawns and gardens?

People are generally not aware of the complex community of mosses on and around their property.  Mosses are often viewed as pests that need to be removed.  By providing the public with more information of existing  moss species, we can increase awareness and knowledge with which to better make decisions about controlling or not controlling mosses that are found around our homes.

What are the more common species of mosses that grow in lawns and gardens? 

For results of this study, click here.

Predominant moss species were determined for lawns and gardens in Corvallis, Oregon.  Five lawns and five gardens with abundant moss populations were surveyed.  Moss communities were surveyed in six-foot squared plots.  Plots were placed in representative areas of the lawn.  The two species of moss in highest abundance were collected and evalueated for percent cover.  Moss species were determined using references from Lawton, 1971; Schofield, 1992; and McCune, 2000.  Specimens were submitted to the Oregon State University Herbarium.

Others have studied mosses on trees. Most research on the ecology of mosses growing on trees in the Pacific Northwest have focused on the mountains. Merrifield (2000), however, described mosses on oaks in urban and agricultural settings in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Pike (1973) documented the lichens and mosses in a Willamette Valley oak forest.

The mosses found by Merrifield are actually quite similar to those found on many kinds of trees, as well as cedar shake rooftops in our area:

  • Antitrichia californica
  • Dendroalsia abietina
  • Dicranoweisia cirrhata
  • Didymodon sp.
  • Homalothecium fulgescens
  • Homalothecium nutallii
  • Metaneckera menziesii
  • Neckera douglasii
  • Porella navicularis (a leafy liverwort)
  • Porella roellii (ditto)
  • Pterogonium graile
  • Scleropodium cespitans
  • Tortula laevipila var. laevipila
  • Tortula laevipila var. meridionalis
  • Tortula latifolia
  • Tortula ruralis
  • Zygodon viridissimus

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