The Q&A Archives: Oak Tree Spanish Moss

Question: We have recently purchased land that has several huge oak trees. They are covered very heavily with Spanish moss. What is the best way to remove the moss and what are the detrimental effects of such heavy moss?

Answer: Spanish Moss is an air-feeding epiphyte, not a parasite, so it's not living off of your trees. It grows in places with high temperatures and high humidity. Spanish Moss spreads by wind-blown seeds and when the seeds find a nice, protected area they germinate and grow. Spanish Moss is used commercially, especially by florists and craftspeople. You can remove the moss by hand. If you remove it all, especially before it flowers and sets seeds, your trees will be free of moss for a while. But, because the weather conditions are perfect for its growth, the moss will probably return. Since the moss is not damaging the trees in any way, you might reconsider and just let it grow.

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