Field of Science

Mosses on Science Friday

While doing some lab work today I was listening to a podcast of Science Friday from NPR. They mentioned a new web-video that had been posted about moss landscaping. I have posted it below or you can click here to check out the video at the SciFri website.

It is a nice video and has some good information if you are interested in encouraging mosses to grow in your yard. I especially like the hand drawn graphics that illustrate moss rhizoids. All of the science they discussed sounded solid. I think that they did their fact-checking well, which is always nice to see.

Typically when I meet people and tell them that I study mosses people respond with, "Oh, I have moss growing in my yard. Do you know how I can get rid of it? " I could start to outline all the ways in which mosses are fabulous and why you would never want to eliminate them. However this usually does not sway people. Instead I say, " Yes I know what you will need to do. 1) You need to change the pH of the soil by adding lime, but it is hard to do that for any large area and you might then need a lot of lime. 2) You probably have a wet area with poor drainage, which you need to fix to make the soil drier. And 3) you should cut down all the trees in your yard. The mosses will not be able to handle the sunlight and the grass will grow better. " This last statement usually results in a jaw-dropping reaction from most people and a statement that they could not possibly cut down their trees. Then they are much more open to learning to love, like or tolerate the mosses. I then go on to tell them that moss landscaping is becoming more and more popular and they should join the trend.

They also make the same the three points in the video. That pH, water, and sunlight are the main things to consider when trying to convert your lawn into a moss covered area. I also second their point about the low-maintenance nature of a moss lawn. By not requiring a weekly mow a lot of fossil fuel energy can be saved. What do you think, is a moss lawn in your future?

Berry Go Round #18

The latest edition of the plant carnival Berry Go Round has been posted at Foothills Fancies. This month's carnival focuses on both edible and un-edible plants!

As the base of the food chain plants are the source of all of our fabulous foods. Bryophytes however are not often eaten. They do make sugars via photosynthesis. However their cell walls are not easily broken into to release these compounds. Also they can have secondary compound inside their cells that make them un-palatable and quite icky tasting. So when in a pinch I would not recommend trying to eat bryophytes.

For more about blog carnivals and my posts about the earlier editions of Berry Go Round, click here.