Ball moss is generally a harmless epiphyte. An epiphyte is a plant that grows on the surface of other things, usually other trees or plants. Ball moss tends to absorb water and nitrogen from the atmosphere. They are generally non-parasitic. Sometime, they can grow in inconvenient places like electric wires, screen doors and wooden fences. They also place false roots on tree trunks and tree limbs.
The false roots of ball moss do not actually perform like true roots. They don’t uptake water and minerals. They are often found on dead or declining branches. The reason why is because ball moss favors an environment with low sunlight and adequate humidity. The inside of a tree canopy happens to be an ideal place for ball moss to occur.
The interior may be the ideal place for ball moss but it’s not the ideal place for photosynthesis and healthy tree growth which is why there’s the presence of dead and dying branches. Live oaks with their thickly layered canopies provide an ideal environment for ball moss to thrive. Ball moss takes up to 3 years to mature. Once it’s mature, it will bloom for the next 6 or 7 years. Because of the way the ball moss seeds are distributed, ball moss is often found on the bottoms of limbs.
The presence of ball moss doesn’t mean the tree is unhealthy, but it is unsightly and it can impact your tree if the infestation gets out of hand. The over-presence of ball moss can reduce air flow and impede new growth. Controlling ball moss is not an easy task. It is best undertaken by a professional like us at Austin Tree Service. Pruning dead wood can reduce the ball moss infestation by up to 80%. Hand picking the ball moss and climbing the tree canopy is the best way to remove ball moss.
Proper pruning and regular maintenance will ensure that the ball moss infestation is kept under control. Give our certified arborist a chance to get rid of your ball moss problem today. Call Austin Tree Service at 512-341-8888.