Remove moss from tree trunks and branches by performing the following steps:
- Spray with a non-toxic moss killer.
- Let moss killer work for 1–2 days.
- Remove dead moss with a soft broom or brush.
- Use a hose or gentle pressure washer to remove moss residue from the tree.
- Prune tree branches to allow more sunlight to reach previously mossy areas.
- Fertilize trees to strengthen them to resist moss.
Some tree care companies use copper sulfate or lime-based products for moss removal, but these are toxic chemicals that can damage nearby painted structures, including your home. By following the process detailed below, you’ll be able to remove moss without damaging your house, trees, or lawn.
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Should Moss be Removed From Trees?
Moss can cause harm to the trees in your yard. For instance, branches covered with green moss or hanging Spanish moss are much more likely to break during storms and rainfall. Additionally, moss collects moisture. This can attract fungi, mold, and insects like chiggers. A thick growth of moss can even stop air and sunlight from reaching new buds and leaves.
- Moss on tree branches can make them heavier and prone to breakage.
- Moss traps moisture close to the tree, inviting pests, disease, and fungi.
- Moss can hide signs of plant disease and smother new buds.
Although moss doesn’t send roots into trees or steal nutrients from them (moss gathers what it needs from the air), it can still be damaging. Most experts recommend removing moss from fruit trees, and excess moss can pose harm to nearly any tree species.
What Causes Moss to Grow on Trees?
Moss is most often drawn to tree trunks and branches that are frequently wet and do not get much sunlight. Trees planted in boggy or shaded parts of the yard can be overtaken by moss.
- Damp areas of the tree that receive little sunlight.
- Older trees are more prone to moss growth.
Moss also tends to latch onto older trees. This can increase the chance of broken branches. In dry conditions, moss may not weigh much, but it can double or triple in weight during rainy periods. This additional weight, plus the high winds of stormy weather, can spell disaster for older trees.
6 Steps to Kill Moss on Trees
The steps outlined below will help you get rid of moss on your trees.
Spray Moss with a Safe Removal Product
Rather than a chemical product that isn’t safe for application near your home, use a safe moss-killing spray, like BioAdvanced Moss & Algae Killer. It’s safe for use on lawns, homes, and trees, so you don’t have to worry about harmful overspray.
- Choose a home-safe moss killer.
- The spray bottle is designed to attach to the end of your garden hose for easy use.
- Spray moss on tree trunk and branches, making sure to evenly apply it to all moss present.
The spray bottle for this moss killer attaches to the end of a garden hose. Turn on the water and thoroughly spray the moss on your trees. Killing moss with a spray like this makes following removal steps much easier. Living moss may stubbornly cling to trees.
Allow Spray to Soak into Moss
Once you’ve applied the moss killer, it will go to work immediately. You may see results in as little as 3–5 hours. However, for complete moss-killing results, 1–2 rain-free days may be required.
- Light moss may be killed in 3–5 hours.
- Heavy moss growth may require 1–2 days for moss killer spray to fully work.
- If it rains within 1 day of application, a second application may be necessary.
If it rains within a day of moss killer application, it may reduce the spray’s effectiveness. If this happens, apply moss killer a second time.
Use Broom or Scrub Brush to Remove Dead Moss
Brown, dead moss is much easier to remove than living moss, but it won’t just come off on its own. It needs a little encouragement. To remove moss:
- Wait until moss turns brown due to moss killer spray.
- Use a soft-bristle broom or scrub brush to remove dead moss from the trunk and branches.
- Scrub carefully, making sure not to damage tree bark or buds.
Avoid using a stiff broom or brush for this step, as it may damage the tree during the removal process. In order to protect new growth from harm, moss removal is often performed during the fall or winter months, while the tree is dormant.
Use Water to Remove Remaining Moss
A hose-end sprayer, pressure washer, or power washer should be used to remove stubborn moss or moss growth in hard-to-reach places. If you are using a pressure washer, begin with a gentle setting and wide spray, then gradually increase strength, making sure the tree bark is not damaged during moss removal.
- Use a hose-end sprayer or pressure washer to remove the remaining moss.
- Practice caution when using a pressure washer, to prevent damage to tree bark and branches.
This step should effectively remove even the most stubborn moss and lichen hiding in the nooks of your tree. If the tree is young and/or has thin bark, avoid using a pressure washer as this may damage the tree.
Prune Tree Branches to Prevent Moss
Because moss loves shady areas, a great way to follow up moss removal is by pruning to prevent moss from coming back. Cut back limbs to increase sunlight on the tree trunk and branches. Remove dead or damaged limbs where moss is likely to grow.
- Trim branches to increase sun exposure on the tree trunk.
- Remove dead or sick limbs. These are prime areas for moss growth.
- Consider removing lower limbs that receive poor sunlight.
If your tree is prone to heavy moss growth, especially with hanging moss species like Spanish moss, consider removing shaded lower limbs where moss will multiply quickly.
Fertilize Trees to Increase Moss Resistance
Moss loves to grow on weak or sickly trees. The stronger the tree, the less likely it is to be overtaken by moss. One of the best methods to prevent moss growth is to fertilize the trees in your yard.
- Moss is more prone to grow on weak trees.
- Try these Winchester Gardens Tree Fertilizer Spikes to strengthen your trees.
Tree fertilizer spikes provide a slow release of essential nutrients that will help boost the vitality of your old or struggling tree. It’s a simple way to combat moss growth.
How To Get Rid of Moss on Trees and Shrubs
Moss is easiest to remove if it has been killed first with a safe moss spray. Allow the spray to work until it turns moss brown (as little as 3 hours or as long as 2 days). Then, scrub the dead moss off the tree with a soft brush or broom. To remove stubborn moss, try spraying with a hose or gentle pressure washer.
Once you’ve removed the existing moss from your trees, prevent it from coming back by pruning tree branches to allow more sunlight to reach shaded areas of the trunk and branches. Then, fertilize your tree with fertilizer spikes. These easy steps are safe for anyone to perform, remove moss growth on trees, and keep your trees happy and healthy for years to come.