If homeowners are looking for moss for their landscaping needs, they might want to consider hair or haircap moss. There are almost 70 species that fall under the genus Polytritchum. This is a moss type that has a wide distribution, and its "furry" and attractive appearance can make it a desirable addition to a property. Among the many nicknames for Polytritchum moss are "juniper moss," "bird wheat," "pigeon wheat," and "star moss."
Polytritchum mosses do well in growing zones three through nine. Like all mosses, they do best where the soil is regularly moist. They prefer partial shade but can grow in full sunlight if they receive moisture. They also prefer soils that are slightly acidic or alkaline and flourish in soils with a phosphorous level of about 4.5.
Polytritichums are one of the taller mosses, and generally, reach a height between two and eight inches. While haircap mosses can occasionally be found colonizing dead trees and older stone, they grow directly on the soil. When doing so, they can form "mounds" that can reach several feet in height. Polytritchum mosses can be a good choice for a property that has poor growing soil. Once established, a polytritchum colony can encourage other plant groups to join them. Several varieties of ferns can often be found living amongst colonies of this moss. Polytritchum mosses have a lifespan of about three to five years and are an evergreen plant.
Polytritchums grow quickly and require little maintenance. This is a moss that should not be fertilized. Colonies find it easier to get established in flat areas that have been well raked and that have had debris removed from them. In addition to colonizing poor soil areas, another landscaping plus offered by polytritchum mosses is erosion control. This moss's roots bind so tightly to soil that they can help to stabilize banks and reduce flooding, making this pretty moss a useful tool as well.