Ballasting for moss Growth

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Someone
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Ballasting for moss Growth

Post by Someone » Wed Aug 25, 2021 9:53 pm

Whats the best method of Ballasting Sm32 track for moss and plant growth, I really want the look of overgrown track on my Garden railway.

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ge_rik
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Re: Ballasting for moss Growth

Post by ge_rik » Wed Aug 25, 2021 10:03 pm

I have no difficulty growing moss on my track. In fact I sometimes have too much and it causes derailments.
Moss loves damp and shady areas. It doesn't tend to grow on the section of my railway which gets the most sun. My suggestion would be to either build your railway in the shadier parts of your garden or plant shrubs which give it plenty of shade.

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Re: Ballasting for moss Growth

Post by Someone » Wed Aug 25, 2021 10:24 pm

ge_rik wrote:
Wed Aug 25, 2021 10:03 pm
I have no difficulty growing moss on my track. In fact I sometimes have too much and it causes derailments.
Moss loves damp and shady areas. It doesn't tend to grow on the section of my railway which gets the most sun. My suggestion would be to either build your railway in the shadier parts of your garden or plant shrubs which give it plenty of shade.

Rik
So it doesnt matter what the Ballast is made of as long as its in a shady area?

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Peter Butler
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Re: Ballasting for moss Growth

Post by Peter Butler » Wed Aug 25, 2021 10:39 pm

Agree with Rik, moss loves wet conditions and we have plenty here in West Wales. My ballast is fine crushed stone stuck down with SBR (available on-line) to a base of roofing felt. I do nothing to encourage it, it just appears when the conditions are right. However, even here it tends to lose colour when the summer heat dries it out.
Below are some images of lush moss growth, along with the results of the summer sun.....
IMG_4070.JPG
IMG_5016.JPG
IMG_6710.JPG
IMG_7129.JPG
The best things in life are free.... so why am I doing this?

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Re: Ballasting for moss Growth

Post by philipy » Thu Aug 26, 2021 7:10 am

Someone wrote:
Wed Aug 25, 2021 10:24 pm

So it doesnt matter what the Ballast is made of as long as its in a shady area?
Correct, but it needs to be shady and damp, and depending on the local conditions in your area may take a year or two to get going. i.e if you live in a generally mossy surrounding area, there is a much higher chance of moss spores finding a home on your ballast. You can encourage the growth by painting the area with yoghurt (AFTER the glue has dried!).

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Re: Ballasting for moss Growth

Post by ge_rik » Thu Aug 26, 2021 4:11 pm

I have also heard garden railway modellers proclaiming the virtues of hypertufa, which can be made by mixing cement with peat or other organic materials. I've not tried it myself as I don't need to.

You could always try planting ground cover such as Mind Your Own Business (aka Hens and chicks or baby's tears). I bought one small pot of it about fifteen years ago and it's now spread all over the garden. Like moss it thrives in shady damp areas.
IMG_20210826_155753.jpg

Corsican mint is another good low growing ground cover plant. I also have something which looks like camomile which is self seeded.
IMG_20210826_155808.jpg

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Re: Ballasting for moss Growth

Post by ge_rik » Thu Aug 26, 2021 4:24 pm

Someone wrote:
Wed Aug 25, 2021 10:24 pm
So it doesnt matter what the Ballast is made of as long as its in a shady area?
Moss probably prefers ballast which is fixed in place either with cement (as in my case) or SBR (as suggested by Peter) rather than loose or 'floating' ballast (though someone may refute this). I've tried using exterior PVA but not had much success. My preferred method of ballasting now uses a mix of horticultural grit and cement (3:1 mix). Mixing some peat with it might encourage the moss to take root more quickly.

I've outlined the approaches I've used for ballasting on my blog - https://riksrailway.blogspot.com/2006/0 ... track.html

Rik
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Re: Ballasting for moss Growth

Post by Jimmyb » Thu Aug 26, 2021 6:16 pm

ge_rik wrote:
Thu Aug 26, 2021 4:11 pm
Corsican mint is another good low growing ground cover plant. I also have something which looks like camomile which is self seeded.
Rik
I have Corsican Mint, and it does seed well once established, and smells nice when "brushed" against.

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Re: Ballasting for moss Growth

Post by Someone » Thu Aug 26, 2021 8:28 pm

ge_rik wrote:
Thu Aug 26, 2021 4:11 pm
I have also heard garden railway modellers proclaiming the virtues of hypertufa, which can be made by mixing cement with peat or other organic materials. I've not tried it myself as I don't need to.

You could always try planting ground cover such as Mind Your Own Business (aka Hens and chicks or baby's tears). I bought one small pot of it about fifteen years ago and it's now spread all over the garden. Like moss it thrives in shady damp areas.
IMG_20210826_155753.jpg


Corsican mint is another good low growing ground cover plant. I also have something which looks like camomile which is self seeded.
IMG_20210826_155808.jpg


Rik
I think I will try this when I get around to building the railway

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Re: Ballasting for moss Growth

Post by Andrew » Tue Aug 31, 2021 3:41 pm

Brushing milk/yoghurt where you want moss to grow is supposed to work, haven't tried it though...

"Rowlands Mix", a cement/grit/earth mixture ( so similar/the same as hypertufa?) is sometimes said to encourage moss growth too...

Andrew

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