Controlling Moss on Your Home - The Province, Sunday March 25th, 2012
March 26, 2012
Spring has sprung and for homeowners, the sunnier and longer days make the perfect recipe for outdoor spring cleaning and maintenance projects. For many homeowners typically in milder climates, the concern is moss building up on exterior surfaces such as decks, siding and rooftops. Some people view moss as unsightly and others are concerned the prolonged wet surface will decay shingles resulting in water leaks and premature replacement of the roof.
The challenge for homeowners is how to safely get rid of the moss that builds up on the roof. Over the years, Zinc Sulphate has been a popular choice but today there is more awareness about the products that we use in and around our home and how they affect the environment around us. Although Zinc Sulphate is effective in controlling mosses, when used in large doses, it can pollute local rivers and streams and is potentially toxic to fish and other aquatic life.
A moss control product that is used as an alternative to zinc sulfate products is zinc strips, which are available in many garden centres. These are metallic zinc strips that are nailed near the top of the roof just below the peak of the roof. The strips have the advantage that they are long-lasting and release only a small amount of zinc at any one time. The primary concern with zinc strips is that they take a long time to remove the moss or algae.
It is easy to understand that any product designed to kill vegetation of any kind, including moss can have negative impacts on other elements of the surrounding environment, however there are more environmentally conscious products that can be effective for cleaning your homes exterior. There are types of low-toxicity moss killers available. One effective product is my Home Cleaning Formula which is ideal for cleaning algae from porous surfaces such as concrete and stucco. It was formulated to be phosphate free as phosphates promote excessive algae growth. Spraying my home cleaning formula in the heavy duty mixture will help keep your patios, decks, and roofs free of moss.
Pressure washing to remove moss can damage roofing and should be avoided. When it comes to moss removal from your homes roof, the first thing you should be concerned with is your own safety. Make sure that you have the proper safety harness on, as well as protective eyewear. A wet roof is very slippery. Do not get up on your own roof if you have never gone up there before, or if you are not completely comfortable doing so. Leave it to the professionals who are trained in working on roofs and more specifically in moss removal.
Moss Prevention Tips:
- Keep your roof clean. Sweep off debris such as leaves, needles, or small branches that slows drying of the roof.
- Remove and thin out overhanging branches: Trim or thin out any overhanging branches to reduce shade and falling leaves and needles to reduce the shade and moisture that are breeding grounds for moss.
- Physically remove as much moss as possible with a broom or rake then apply a least-toxic moss killer to the problem area. Make sure to follow the manufacturers instructions on the container.
- It is recommended to use moss control products just on the parts of the roof most prone to moss problems. These will probably be on areas that do not get direct sun such as north-facing slopes and areas shaded by trees or other buildings.
- When installing a new roof consider installing zinc strips, galvanized flashing, or a zinc-impregnated roofing material.
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This article was published in The Province
newspaper, Sunday March 25th.