5 steps to keeping moss and algae at bay

Everyone knows that I’m a bit of a cottage garden-type and I generally let a lot of plants get on with it. This is not to say, however, that a bit of important maintenance isn’t needed now and then. Whilst I’m happy for mossy rocks to appear around the pond and in the fern patch, I’m not so keen when it begins to creep across my decking. Algae’s a pain too, and anyone who’s left their garden for a year without doing much knows just the strength plants have when it comes to destroying anything man-made. It’s quite incredible how fast nature will reclaim an area when it’s left alone.

With this in mind, and particularly as the warmer weather gives way to the damp season, it might be worth taking some steps to keep moss and algae at bay.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/caseyrussell/5634706669/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Algae covered decking © CaseyRussell – Flickr

1. Cut back foliage

As you probably realise, moss and algae love a nice damp, moist spot. Existing patios and decked areas can sometimes be covered with overhanging branches and foliage which is all well and good for creating a tropical-feeling retreat, but reduces airflow and increases humidity. This allows algae and moss to thrive. By simply cutting plants back a little and allowing better air circulation, algae and moss growth can be slowed.

2. Improve drainage

If you have an existing patio that’s constantly covered with weeds, then improving the drainage can help a lot. Simply lift the paving slabs, lay them on an extra bed of sand and replace. This ensures that as much rain and moisture drains away as possible, leaving patios dry and unappealing for algae and moss growth.

3. Avoid damp areas

If you’re only just considering putting in decking or a patio, then it’s best to avoid shady areas where algae and moss will thrive. It’s far better to drink you tea or G&T in the sun anyway, and building your outside living space in a sunny spot will reduce your maintenance work.

4. Wire brushes

It has to be said, getting onto your hands and knees with a wire brush is probably the least appealing job in the world. However, there are some great tools with long handles to make the job MUCH easier. It’s still a little frustrating, but if you use the brush every few months, you’ll stop a build up of greenery.

5. Algae and Moss cleaner

Sometimes, there really isn’t much option than to go with a specific algae and moss cleaner such as the ones available at Simply Gone. I know this will be a big no-no for organic gardeners who don’t want chemicals in their garden, but this surface biocide breaks down any remaining components within two days, leaving little remnants other than a clean and clear patio, deck or drive.

Like most things, keeping a beautiful garden involves a lot more work behind the scenes that visitors will believe. But keeping moss and algae at bay is possible as long as you take care to treat both the cause and the symptoms.

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Hi,

I'm Geoff, and I'm a plant hoarder.

Like magpies collect bright shiny things, I can't resist plants. An exquisite flower, soft ferny foliage or a beautiful majestic tree - I love them all!

Here, I'll indulge in all things flora and share my passion. Join me as I develop my garden and hoard more plants without apology.