Moss occurs in lawns when the lawn environment changes to favour moss, and become hostile to grass. These factors are always excessive water retention in the soil and excessive shade.
To begin repairing Moss in lawns and bring our lawns back to full health, these two issues must be addressed permanently, and there are several ways to do this.
A good first step is to physically remove the moss which is established in the affected area, this will enable the lawn to repair and re-cover much easier, and much quicker. The moss will be very easy to remove with a spade, ensuring the roots are taken out of the ground at the same time.
After any repair work is completed to the soil, an application of quality lawn fertiliser at manufacturers recommendations should put down to encourage growth and health in the lawn during it's repair stage
Wherever, and as much as possible, all excessive shade should be removed, this usually includes heavily pruning back tree branches, bushes, shrubs and all other plants which may be responsible for the shade. As much direct sunlight will need to get into the affected area as possible.
If permanent structures are in place, such as fencing, gazebos, sheds and walls, and if they cannot be moved - then consideration should be given to removing the lawn from the affected area altogether, and using the area for another purpose such as paving, creating a storage area or installing a garden bed in it's place.
Moss loves water as much as it does shade, if the soil wasn't retaining excessive amounts of water, then the moss wouldn't establish. Soils usually retain water due to lack of sunlight as well as containing a large amount of fine soil/dust particles which traps the water.
The soil can be improved permanently with the addition of sand or sandy loam which can be dug into the soil to thoroughly mix the two together, this will aid in far larger soil particles into the soil which will allow for greater drainage to continue to occur. This method will be most suitable when the affected area has killed off the grass completely.
For lawns which are still in fair health, then lawn coring should be undertaken. The lawn coring machine will remove plugs of soil, thatch and grass, and leave the lawn filled with holes. This will greatly aid the lawn with drainage, and to further the benefits, the holes can then be filled in (top-dressed) with a coarse sand.
Wetting Agents should be applied to water retaining soils at least twice a year to continue to help the soil with it's drainage. Any clay based soils should be modified with the lawn coring / top-dressing method, as well as adding amounts of Gypsum clay-breaker a couple of times each year.
If the shade has been reduced and sunlight increased, but there are still concerns that the area may still not get enough direct sunlight for the lawn to flourish, then consideration should be given to changing the type of turf being used.
Fine leaf grasses such as Couch have no tolerance for shade whatsoever, and medium width leaf grasses such as Zoysia will have a medium tolerance for shade. If your own grass is one of these types, it may be worthwhile considering switch to a grass with a wide leaf blade such as Soft Leaf Buffalo which has excellent shade tolerance and will survive in lower light levels.
When the grass is healthy and flourishing, even in low light conditions, it will often out-compete Moss from ever becoming established - so the right grass type will help considerably to keep Moss off our lawns!