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Moss on Fruit Trees

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Q: I have a pear, apple and plum tree on the property I am renting. They have a lot of moss all over them. is this common (we have wet winters) or should I look into spraying? Any ideas?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

Kelly from Willamina, OR

A: Kelly,

Moss and lichens growing on your trees in the Pacific Northwest is not uncommon. They aren't usually harmful to trees, unless of course they become to too heavy-making the braches susceptible to wind damage. Most moss grows on older trees in conditions where the sunlight is diffused. One way to decrease its potential for growth is to allow for more direct sunlight around your fruit trees and pruning to create better air circulation. In regards to removing the moss, don't spray or you may damage the tree. The best way to remove it is also the most labor intensive-by hand. Care needs to be taken not to harm any active growth or new buds, so this is best done in the winter months when the tree is in a dormant state. An alternative to removal by hand is to spray the moss off of the trees with a power washer. This should also be done during the tree's dormant period to prevent damage from the high water pressure. This method isn't suitable to more delicate trees. Hope this helps!

Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By barb (Guest Post)11/27/2007

I have some apple trees that have moss and need to know if I can spray with bleach and water mixture, will this help? Or what is best? and when should this be done? They are big tall trees and I need to help them, as I do get apples.

By Brenda (Guest Post)01/29/2006

I also live in north fl. and have moss on my apple trees, they are young trees and have been taken over with the scaly type of moss and spanish moss.
what can i do.

By Kelly [15]01/22/2006

Thank you everyone! Looks like I have both. I will make sure DH does the spray.....won't have the pleasure to! I hope to enjoy some pears this year.

By Jackie01/22/2006

Kelly,I have the same thing here in North Fl. My feed & garden store told me to get sulfer phosfate to mix & spray during the dormany season (Jan & Feb) If you wait any longer the blooms wil rot and fall off!! I really need this done badly this season as I didn't get to do it last season due to bad heath problems!!

By kattankerous01/22/2006

Hi Kelly... is it the hanging type of moss? Or is it the scaly type that is on the bark?
I know the hanging type, Spanish Moss , as most people know it, will not hurt trees unless it gets really heavy with it and inhibits bugs. And like Bev said, you can pull it off and dry it for alot of uses!
If its the other type, i think there is a spray for it... i will look.

~kat

By Angela Faulkner01/15/2006

Whatever you do, dont handle the moss without vinyl or latex gloves and a dust mask.....it contains many allergens and bacteria/fungus.

By Kelly [15]01/14/2006

Thanks, it is mostly on the North west.....and the stretch of storms don't help!

By Bev Sobkowich (Guest Post)01/14/2006

The moss would mainly be on the north side of the trees and this is due to cold and dampness from the north.A clean up would make a difference and dry the moss for silk flower arrangement bases.

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