Moss is a type of small, non-vascular plant that typically thrives in moist and shady environments. It has certain adaptations that allow it to grow and survive in such conditions. Here are some reasons why moss tends to grow:
Moss requires a significant amount of moisture to grow. It is commonly found in areas that have high humidity, frequent rainfall, or consistent moisture levels. Moisture provides the necessary hydration for moss to carry out its physiological processes and absorb nutrients from its surroundings.
Moss prefers shaded areas where direct sunlight is limited. Excessive sunlight can cause moss to dry out and become less viable. Thus, you often find moss growing in shaded areas under trees, in forests, or on north-facing slopes where sunlight is less intense. Gutters are the perfect place for moss. The overhang of the roof on a winter day can provide the perfect condition. Gutters with gutter guard are an ideal spot for moss to grow.
Lack of competition
Moss tends to grow in areas where there is minimal competition from other plants. It can colonise bare or disturbed surfaces such as rocks, soil, tree bark, and even man-made structures, such as gutters.
Acidic or nutrient-poor soil
We tend to find moss growing in gutters that are less full of nutrient-rich decomposed matter. Gutters that have minimal or nutrient-lacking dirt with the other conditions can contain moss. In areas where the soil pH is low or lacking in essential nutrients, moss can still thrive. They can extract and utilise nutrients efficiently from these environments, which gives them a competitive advantage over other plant species that require more fertile soil.
Mosses reproduce by releasing spores, which are lightweight and can be easily dispersed by wind, water, or animals. This allows mosses to colonise new areas and establish themselves in diverse environments. Once spores land on a suitable substrate, they can germinate and grow into new moss plants. Wind and birds play a part in the dispersal of moss from gutters. Birds tend to pick the moss out of the gutter and fling it to the ground. There the moss can establish a new colony.
It’s important to note that moss growth can also be influenced by factors such as temperature, air quality, and local microclimates. Each species of moss may have specific requirements and preferences regarding its growth conditions. It is safe to say that gutters are the perfect environment for moss to grow. Each year we return to the same gutters and there is the moss ready and waiting for us to vacuum clean away.