Moss Control With Bosch’s ALR 900 Lawnraker & Verticutter AVR 1100

Moss is one of the simpler plants you’re likely to find in your garden – little more than a thin stem supporting an array of one-cell thick leaves – but despite this organic simplicity it can pose a big problem for gardeners. This is because moss loves to grow in damp, shady parts of the garden and once established can begin to creep across your lawn. And although moss doesn’t damage your lawn directly it will compete for valuable nutrients and moisture, as well as preventing air and rainfall from penetrating to the grass roots. As such it is important to treat your lawn regularly for moss in order to ensure its long term health. Herein we will offer a few general hints on how best to approach lawn moss control, along with offering a couple of recommendations for scarifiers and specialist moss control machines – Bosch’s AVR 1100 Verticutter and ALR 900 Lawnraker – which will make routine moss treatment effortless.

Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter
The Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter is the perfect tool for moss and thatch removal.

Perhaps the first thing to remember in “The War Against Moss” is that moss build ups can be a symptom of bigger problems with your lawn, so you must attempt to tackle the causes of moss infestations as well as removing the moss itself. Acidic soil conditions, lack of nutrients, insufficient aeration, poor drainage, lack of sunlight and overuse can all leave lawns weak and undernourished, which gives moss the chance to spread. In the long term, then, persistent moss problems can only be treated by addressing the underlying issues that allow moss to thrive. But an important part of this is to catch the problem before it becomes severe, so conducting regular moss removal is a must for any gardener.

The best time to do this is usually early to mid spring and early autumn (moss typically spores in April and September so it is important to remove the excess before then). The most common procedure for this is to apply a chemical moss killer before raking the moss out a week or two later. The reason usually given for this is that raking before applying moss killer will spread the spores across your lawn. This is a little spurious, however, as moss killers will never kill 100% of moss on your lawn so raking will still spread spores. An alternative approach may therefore be to rake first then use a moss killer to pick off most of what remains. Whichever approach you choose though, remember that any invasive lawn treatment (such as raking) should only be performed during the growing season when there is enough warmth, fertiliser and moisture available for the grass to recover afterwards.

Bosch ALR 900 Lawnraker Collection Box
Lawn is thatch easily removed with a Bosch Verticutter or Lawnraker.

But what is the most effective way of raking out lawn moss? The most widespread method among home gardeners is probably to use a handheld spring-tine moss rake, which allows you to simply tease moss away from the lawn surface. In anything but the smallest gardens, however, manual moss removal can become a tedious and tiring task. You’ll therefore be happy to know that there are a number of labour-saving alternatives available for those with slightly larger lawns, with Bosch’s AVR 1100 Verticutter and ALR 900 Lawnraker among the most user-friendly moss removal solutions around.

We’ll start with the Bosch ALR 900 Lawnraker. It probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that the Bosch Lawnraker has been designed specifically to rake lawns (hence the name). What may surprise you though is quite how quick and easy the ALR 900 Lawnraker makes routine lawn maintenance work, with a reel of sprung tines lifting moss and other debris from the surface of your lawn without damaging the turf. With its 32cm working width the ALR 900 is therefore a remarkably efficient way of removing loose lawn moss, though with four easily selectable working heights it can also be used for everything from collecting autumn leaves to light de-thatching to make sure that your lawn stays tidy all year round. Powered via the mains and driven by a clean running 900W Powerdrive electric motor, the ALR 900 Lawnraker also comes with a 50cm collection box featuring Bosch’s clever “Jet-Collect System,” which uses inlets on the reel of tines to boost airflow for enhanced collection performance. To top it all off the ALR 900 even features a double folding handle and a stackable collection box, so it can be quickly converted for compact storage and transportation.

The Bosch AVR 1100 Verticutter, meanwhile, offers a similarly effective solution to moss-ridden lawns but with some extra deep-cutting action thrown in. It does this using a reel of fourteen rotating stainless steel blades which slice into the soil as you advance across your lawn, removing thatch and moss while simultaneously allowing air and water to penetrate to the grass roots to relieve the effects of soil compaction. The AVR 1100 Verticutter therefore addresses some of the underlying causes of moss problems as well as leaving a tidy surface finish, making this machine an exceptional choice for anyone whose garden suffers from persistent moss infestations.

Bosch ALR 900 Lawnraker In Storage
Compact storage is part of the package when you buy a Bosch scarifier.

Mains-powered and driven by an 1100W Powerdrive electric motor for quiet, clean running performance, the AVR 1100 Verticutter also shares a number of additional features with the ALR 900 Lawnraker. A 50 litre collection box with Bosch’s “Jet-Collect System,” for example, ensures that your lawn is left tidy once you are finished, while four-position working height adjustment means you can tailor the Verticutter to suit the conditions at hand. And once you are finished working the foldaway handlebar and stackable collection box save valuable space in the garden shed. Both of these machines are also remarkably light and easy to manoeuvre (with the ALR 900 weighing in at 9.4kg and the AVR 1100 9.9kg) so even prolonged periods of operation are reassuringly painless.

With either of these machines by your side, then, treating your lawn for moss will become far quicker and simpler than with conventional manual removal methods. And as these are Bosch machines you can rely on them to provide years of dependable service. Nevertheless, even with the best tools around there are still a few tips that every gardener should follow to ensure optimal results when removing lawn moss (most of which we’ve already touched upon, but it can’t hurt to reiterate them):

  • Regular moss removal helps to ensure that your lawn receives the sunlight, moisture and nutrients it needs to grow strong
  • Chemical treatments are effective but over-application can damage grass and moss killers are best used in combination with physical removal methods
  • Moss removal is best conducted in spring and autumn, though you should ensure that conditions are warm and moist enough for grass to recover after raking
  • Light raking will remove moss from the surface of your lawn without damaging the grass but won’t address the underlying soil conditions which allow moss to thrive
  • Verticutting can simultaneously remove surface moss, relieve soil compaction and prepare soil for seeding (but grass will need longer to recover from invasive treatments such as this)

And once you’re done you don’t have to just throw away all that moss you collected! Instead you can use it for composting or as a cheap, environmentally-friendly substance for lining hanging baskets. Alternatively you could put it out for garden birds to use in their nests (blackbirds and starlings are particularly fond of a little bit of lawn moss in their bedding). However, regardless of what you choose to do with any moss removed from your garden (if you’re feeling particularly ambitious you could even attempt to knit it into a hat or tea cosy), with Bosch’s AVR 1100 Verticutter and ALR 900 Lawnraker your lawn will be left healthy, tidy and beautiful every time.