Soil and Compost forum: Spanish moss in compost heap?

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Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 14, 2013 6:51 PM CST
Do any of you use Spanish moss in your compost piles?
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Dec 14, 2013 7:03 PM CST
Holy cow - composting a tillandsia?! That's blasphemy! I grow the stuff and drape it all over my orchids, bromeliads, (other) tillandsia, and staghorn ferns. It actually serves a purpose (I think?) other than just looking nice.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 14, 2013 7:11 PM CST
Believe me Ken, I have morrrrrre than enough to go around. In fact, at present, there is too, too much on a Redbud tree & some pecan trees that I need to get off of them. that's why I was wondering about putting it in the compost pile.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
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terrafirma
Dec 14, 2013 8:41 PM CST
I have a neighbor that has a Crepe Myrtle tree that is covered in Spanish moss…The poor tree has not bloomed in years because of that! In fact, the tree is looking like it may be dying…Is it possible that the Spanish moss could kill this tree?
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Dec 14, 2013 8:46 PM CST
Okay, the question is do we put the Spanish Moss in our compost piles.

Short answer - yes.
Longer answer - it takes quite a while to break down, maybe over 7-8 months even in an active/hot compost pile. It will also add some acid but that part is easily remedied.

Since where I live the alternative would be putting it out to the curb and the city composts it for me. So I put some into my long term compost pile and the rest I give to the city.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Dec 14, 2013 9:02 PM CST
My answer was kind of tongue-in-cheek. I know Spanish moss can get out of hand, but here, in NE Mississippi, Spanish moss is very seldom seen. I grow it as a novelty and also because I was told I could not grow it. I like to experiment! But it does look good on my mounted plants. You should see one of my vandas, who's roots have absolutely taken up residence in a mass of Spanish moss. Really unusual. Also I find that when I drap Spanish moss around/over other, non-tillandsia epiphytes, and the moss grows well, it seems to indicate that (whatever the mounted plants are), the plants do well. Not scientific by any means, but something I have seen over and over.

For those who think Spanish moss is a perasite, it is not. Epiphtes are not parasitic. What damages a tree with overgrowth of Spanish moss is the fact the the moss reduces available light to the leaves, nothing more. Other tillandsias in S. FL and central and S. American also causes damage to trees due to overgrowth.

I agree that in a compost pile, living Spanish moss would break down very slowly. It could possibly still grow on that compost pile for months before finally dying. Even then, dead Spanish moss has really tough filaments that might never break down.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 14, 2013 9:19 PM CST
Thanks y'all. I didn't know how long it might take it to break down so that's what I was aiming for in my question. Long term compost pile it is then. Fibers I could use to improve both the sand & the clay (I have both in different areas) & acid is useful with the sand for sure.

Tara, I'm glad your question got answered in the process. I knew it will not in & of itself kill a tree but the damage lies in shading it out too much. This is why I need to get some (a lot) off the redbud. the former owners planted it directly beneath a huge oak ~~~ a veritable invitation for the moss to transfer to the redbud. The redbud is too large to move at this point (at least by us) so I need to get moss off of it. The pecan trees obviously will not set fruit where it's draped with moss so that's a no brainer.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Tara
NE, Florida (Zone 9a)
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Organic Gardener Garden Sages Birds Frogs and Toads Plant Identifier
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terrafirma
Dec 15, 2013 7:59 AM CST
Thumbs up
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Dec 15, 2013 8:11 AM CST
I actually "seeded" my oaks with Spanish moss several years ago, moss collected along the coast of Mississippi. I wanted to prove my fellow Master Gardeners wrong. Whistling I was told it would be impossible to grow the stuff up here. It will be interesting to see if it all survives our horrible, horrible cold that we are experiencing. Gosh we are not even into our "cold" months and we have already had 12 nights in the mid to lower 20's and a couple more are predicted this coming week! Grumbling

Because I grow so many tropical plants, and afterall, the Spanish moss IS a tillandsia, when I water and fertilize my plants that are outside (hundreds of them) in the spring-fall, the Spanish moss gets the same treatment. Don't laugh. I know no one has probably ever heard of someone actually watering and fertilizing their Spanish moss. *Blush*
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Horntoad
Dec 15, 2013 8:51 AM CST
I don't feritilize, but I do water it.
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Dec 15, 2013 9:14 AM CST
Hey, Jay. I lived in Nederland way back in the early-fifties. My mom was the dietitian for the school system there. Spray a little diluted fertilizer onour Spanish moss every few months (spring/summer) and your moss will actually bloom. The blooms are not much (tiny)but kind of neat to see.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
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Horntoad
Dec 15, 2013 9:19 AM CST
Thanks Ken. I have been wanting to photograph the blooms for my website, but have never seen them. I'll give that a try.
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 15, 2013 9:51 AM CST
You will need a really good, super-macro lense to capture those blooms. But when you do, and you certainly want to post the pictures and then put the best in the data-base, people will see what they have never seen before. Hurray!

P. S. I don't know why I never photographed mine in bloom. Just never thought about it. Hey, I may have some in bloom right now. I need to check.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Dec 15, 2013 10:01 AM CST
They shouldn't be blooming now. I'm afraid you'll most likely have to wait till spring.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 15, 2013 10:07 AM CST
Perhaps so, but I have quite a bit draped over numerous mounted tropical plants in my GH's, so there's a chance I have fooled Mother Nature. Whistling
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Tom Cagle
SE-OH (Zone 6a)
Old, fat, and gardening in OH
Coppice
Dec 15, 2013 11:26 AM CST
I think using a dust mask when handling this stuff is a good idea.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 15, 2013 12:05 PM CST
Nothing comes off them when handling. They are live plants, moist and supple.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Cliff Hughes
Front Royal, Va (Zone 6a)
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Cahac
Dec 15, 2013 2:16 PM CST
Ken,
I have to agree w/you.. Why waste S.moss when you can use it. I I have been growing some of my Tillys in wire hanging baskets. the moss makes a great nesting place in the baskets. and the birds like in the spring too.


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and you can always use it as a back door curtain! Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing

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cliff Drooling Drooling Drooling

SMILE AND HAVE A GREAT DAY
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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springcolor
Dec 15, 2013 3:03 PM CST
I like that idea Cliff!! Wonder if you could stuff a bunch in a box and ship?? Big Grin Maybe in the spring?
Sempervivum for Sale
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
Image
drdawg
Dec 15, 2013 3:10 PM CST
There you go - waste not-want not. Orchids seem to love having this tillandsia grow adjacent to it as well as mounted, staghorn ferns.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]www.tropicalplantsandmore.com[/url]
If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

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