by Lee Wyatt
(last updated November 17, 2017)
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
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