Q: I have 2 beautiful huge oak trees. The problem is they are slowly being taken over by moss. Is there anything to kill the moss without calling a professional service? Also, how did the moss get started growing in the trees? They are very old trees and we have never had this problem before. Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
A: Spanish moss and ball moss are actually epiphytes, which mean they obtain their nutrition from the environment. They are not parasitic and cause no direct damage to trees. Heavy infestations on pecans can cause limb breakage, but otherwise the moss is of little consequence. In fact, a green colored Spanish moss is an indication of clean air. A copper sulfate solution can be sprayed on the moss to control it, but beware because the solution may be detrimental to new growth on trees or surrounding plants if the copper solution is drifted by the wind. Hand removal using a pole or rake is possible, but think safety first. The plant reproduces by seeds and vegetative growth. When small pieces of the plant are broken off and moved (usually by wind or animals) to another appropriate growth site, they will begin to grow into new plants. Spanish moss can be spread easily by violent storms, which we have been experiencing for the last few months. For more information on Spanish moss and ball moss check out the University of Florida website : http://okeechobee.ifas.ufl.edu/News%20columns/Whats%20In%20My%20Tree.htm