Moss on trees: Pros and Cons, prevention and control methods

Moss on trees Pros and Cons, prevention and control methods
Moss on trees Pros and Cons, prevention and control methods

Everyone clearly remembers. In the school curriculum, the northern hemisphere, there are generally more Moss but opposite in the southern. If you lose your way suddenly, it is a reliable reference point to determine the two sides of the world in the forest.

The truth is that this is not entirely true. Moss on trees can grow on either side, just more on the north side. Beacuse it is more moisture and less sunlight in north. But this is only in the forest.

But what if Moss grows on a tree in our garden? Here, we don’t get lost and we don’t particularly need landmarks.

Are there any benefits to such a neighborhood, or would it only harm our pets? Let’s try to find out.


One of the earliest plants on Earth is Moss. it is almost 300 million years old. there are a huge number of species of Moss. They are so many and varied that there is an entire section of botany devoted to the study of Moss – Bryology.

Moss can grow anywhere, in any climatic zone. In the event of a temporary unfavorable change in the environment, Moss will assume a habitat-free state. When conditions become favorable, its life processes resume.

Some experts believe that Moss and lichens growing on trees indicate clean air in the environment. For example, Japanese scientists conducted an experiment to determine that Moss is not only a natural bio-indicator that responds to air pollution and humidity in the air.

Because Moss uses the water and nutrients in the environment in which it grows to thrive, it is also an excellent air purifier of various pollutants. Depending on the ecosystem, it changes its appearance and growth intensity, and under particularly unfavorable conditions, it may even die.

A thick layer of Moss has the ability to accumulate and retain radioactive particles.

There is a belief that trees with Moss or lichen do not suffer from frostbite and sunburn.

At the same time, the presence of Moss on the bark of a tree may indicate that the latter is diseased and deserves attention. On an old or diseased tree, the growth of the bark slows down or stops altogether, and such a surface is even more suitable for Moss and lichen growth.

These plants are not considered to be parasitic and they feed on the moisture retained in the bark. In the absence of moisture, Moss dries out but starts growing again when it emerges. They do not harm trees because they only grow on the surface of the bark and do not penetrate deep into the trunk.


Now let’s consider the potential harm of such a guest in our gardens. moss is tiny perennials up to 50 mm in length. They do not have flowers and have root hairs (rhizomes) instead of roots.

Rhizomes are elongated cells or several cells growing together in a row. Their function is to attach the plant to the basal surface and to absorb water.

The sporophyte is a thin stalk that grows directly on the body of the Moss and forms a box, the sporophyte, at its end; a large number of spores mature in this box.

Moss reproduce by spores, so if they appear on one tree, they are quickly transferred to neighboring trees by wind, rain, and insects, which first of all spoils the beauty of the garden and makes it look untidy.

Moss spreads over the bark, forming a continuous dense carpet that prevents air and moisture from freely entering the surface of the trunk and branches. This slows the tree’s development process and reduces its ability to bear fruit.

In addition, Moss buildup provides shelter for various pests, larvae, bacteria, and spores of already parasitic plants. Therefore, it is best to prevent moss on trees.


In order to prevent Moss from becoming dominant in your garden, you need to make sure that trees and shrubs are planted correctly. Moss likes shady old trees. Therefore, try to make sure your trees are growing in open, well-ventilated areas.

It is also necessary to prevent the occurrence of moss.

  1. Remove old branches and excess plants in a timely manner and thin and prune the canopy. This is done to ensure that the canopy is wind-blown and dries sufficiently after rain to get more sunlight on the branches.
  2. Make sure the soil does not become acidic. The optimum acidity of garden soil should be 5.5-6.5 units, indicating a mild acidity.

You can roughly determine the acidity of your soil at home, which can be classified as acidic, neutral, or alkaline, without chemical testing. To do this, place a small amount of soil from your garden on a glass surface and pour 9% vinegar over it.

If you can see a lot of foam, it is alkaline soil, a little foam is neutral and no foam is acidic.

To deoxygenate the soil, it is good to use wood ash. The weight of the ash varies from 700 grams to 1.5 kg per square meter. The average application rate is 500-600 grams.

  1. Winter brushing of the trunk with a lime solution (3 kg of lime per 10 liters of water) to which copper sulfate (100 g), clay, or cowpea can be added. In dry and warm weather, the trunk and lower skeletal branches of old trees are brushed white.
  2. It is possible to prepare a solution for tree mulching from simple ingredients. Pour 1 kg of salt, 2 kg of wood ash, two grated laundry soap in 10 liters of hot water and bring to a boil. Let it cool and you can use it to brush the solution on the affected areas.


If preventive measures prove to be insufficient and you have noticed the emergence and spread of Moss in your garden, you will need to take action to eliminate it.

The safest and at the same time the most effective method is to spray the plants with a solution of iron sulfate. Take 30-50 grams of powder per liter of water. Trees are always treated in early spring, before the buds swell, or in late autumn, after the leaves have fallen.

Spray the solution not only on the trunk and skeletal branches but also in the area around the tree for disinfection. moss will die and fall off (don’t forget to put plastic sheeting under the tree). Iron sulfate is also an excellent protector against fruit rot, scab, mildew, and other tree diseases.

Please note that the strong concentrated iron sulfate solutions we use to remove Moss and various fungal diseases from trees can cause burns on young shoots and leaves. The bark is not sensitive to such a saturated solution.

For humans, it is not toxic, but certain precautions need to be observed when carrying out spraying work to protect the eyes and respiratory organs.

The advantage of iron alum is that it is a contact-acting fungicide, that is, it acts only on the surface, is not absorbed by the cytosol, does not enter the plant interior, and is not transmitted through the stem cells, unlike systemic drugs.

The remaining areas of moss can be cleaned with a stick or scraper, and you can even use hard gloves in order not to damage the bark. It all depends on how much Moss you have left on the tree.

Put plastic wrap or heavy cloth under the tree ahead of time to prevent Moss spores from getting into the ground. Anything on the cling film should be burned off during the cleanup. Mechanical cleaning is done in late fall or early spring after the sap begins to flow or in wet weather before.

Treating trees with a copper sulfate solution (400 g per 10 liters of warm water) after cleaning is excellent. Treatment can also be carried out in early spring or late autumn during the period when the sap of the plants starts to flow.

Take safety precautions when using copper sulfate. This substance is toxic and you should wear gloves to avoid contact with the skin. Copper sulfate solution should be applied within 4-5 hours of preparation or it will not work.

Another method of spraying is to dilute oxalic acid with water in a ratio of 1 part acid to 8 parts water.

You can use Skor fungicide when the area covered by Moss is small, or when Moss only appears occasionally on your trees. It is used both as a preventative with long-lasting effects and as a treatment for certain diseases.

Warning: Difenoconazole (which is a broad-spectrum triazole fungicide) should not be used repeatedly; this treatment can lead to microbial insensitivity and render the application of this drug ineffective. This may be the case with powdery mildew, for example.

Precautions should be taken when using such agents. If the spore-forming phase of Moss explants has begun, this agent will no longer have any effect.

Prior to any tree treatment, you should prune off any dead branches, remove any frozen bark, clean up any damaged bark, trim and break branches, and cover the area with garden varnish.

Dear reader
If you want to have a healthy garden and a productive fruit tree, check the condition of its bark at least once or twice a year. Do not let Moss and lichens spread and if you see them, clean them up immediately. For this, your garden will thank you with a bumper crop.

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