Can Moss Kill a Tree?

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated March 23, 2015)

Can moss kill a tree? The simple answer to the question is no, not really. However, there is a more complicated answer than just that. The reason for this is that Spanish moss (the most common type of moss that grows on trees) does have an affinity for trees that are already dying. Before you get all scared that you will need to get rid of your tree, there are a few things you can do to tell whether or not you have Spanish moss, and whether or not your tree is in danger.

What is Spanish moss?

Simply put, Spanish moss is not a plant that will endanger your trees. It is not a pest, it is not invasive, and it is not a parasite. Rather, it is what is known as am "air plant" which means that it doesn't take any nutrients from the tree itself. Instead it gets all of the nutrients that it will ever need from the air that surrounds it.

When to worry about moss

While Spanish moss may not, in and of itself, be an immediate threat to your trees there can come a time when it can cause harm to them. Usually this is when the moss becomes too abundant, and end up preventing sunlight from reaching the tree or overburdening the branches and causing them to break. If you feel that you are faced with some overgrown patches, simply use a rake to remove it.

How to remove Spanish moss

  1. Measure to the moss. Before you can begin removing the Spanish moss, you need to know how high it goes on your tree. Be as accurate as possible, but if you can only do a rough estimate, then that will work. Write this figure down and take it with you to your local home improvement store.
  2. Make a long pole. Purchase several poles that are about five feet in length from your local home improvement store. Overlap each of the poles by about 1-1/2 feet at each end until you reach the desired length to match the height you wrote down before. Using some rope, or better yet duct tape, connect each overlapping section so that it is nice and secure.
  3. Attach some hooks. At one end of the pole attach either a rake head or some blunt hooks. Be sure that you secure it nice and tight to ensure that it doesn't come loose while you are removing the moss.
  4. Spin and pull. Raise the pole with the hook pointed towards the moss. Don't worry if the pole you made is a little wobbly, it should be strong enough to do the job. Latch the hook into the moss and then twist it around a couple of times, like spaghetti on a fork. Pull down on the moss, and you should see it come away with no problem. Dispose of the moss either in the garbage or place it into your compost bin. Continue to do this until you have removed all of the moss that you want from the tree.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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