More than one “expert” opinion about watering mosses!
Good Morning Mossers! As this blog gets up and running, I want to encourage each of you to join in discussions and provide your own moss experiences. I hope this platform will be embraced as an opportunity to learn and share with each other. Although mosses have been around for 450 million years, we still have few actual protocols, beyond generalizations, about incorporating mosses in landscapes. My mossy advice is based upon my own successes since I began introducing mosses intentionally into my own garden over ten years ago. When I started Mountain Moss Enterprises, I researched, networked, observed and experimented, sometimes pushed the envelope of my expectations. It is my desire to share the knowledge I've gained with others. With that said, please realize that, at this point, we have almost no documented research regarding moss cultivation, including optimal watering regimes. There are so many variables that could impact the success of your moss garden. Eventually, this blog will examine the implications for further research required to build our common body of knowledge within the scientific community and available to the general public. As with any gardening methods, there might be more than one way to achieve successful results and experienced moss gardeners may not always agree. Although I strongly recommend watering frequently for short sessions, there are other moss gardeners who do not share this philosophy. I've been told the Japanese grand masters do not provide supplemental watering, relying upon rainfall as the only source. Another moss gardener in the American Midwest promotes this perspective and warns that if supplemental watering occurs, then you should only use collected rainwater or distilled water. His advice is sensible since it is possible that city water sources might include additional harmful chemicals and an undesirable pH. I happen to be located in an ideal climate for mosses – a topic that will be covered another time. Yet, I do supplement natural rainfall. I encourage harvesting rain and using it as your best back-up bartender for thirsty mosses. In my opinion, lack of watering can be detrimental to the aesthetic appeal of green mosses. However, overwatering is not recommended either. My home water source is a community well which is fed by a natural mountain spring. The water from the tap is a pH of around 7. Although I suggest misting, I usually spray with a variety of aerial patterns – quick, rapid movements in horizontal and vertical arrays. Please note that I've watered at all times of the day and night for the last decade without any negative repercussions. As interest grows in mosses as viable horticultural choices and we learn which bryophyte types respond to which variables, we'll have a better chance for overall success. Remember, moss is not just moss. There are many types with different requirements for optimum growth. Learning the right moss for the right place is the real key for a sustainable moss landscape. To Water or Not to Water – our mossy question of the day. What do you think?