What Does Tree Moss Mean for the Tree?
It’s easy to spot a tree that has moss living on it. Its trunk will have a vibrant green surface that can be wet to the touch. For some, the addition of moss to their tree provides a stunning visual element to their yard, but too much moss on a tree can make you wonder why it’s happening or if it’s something you should have looked at by an arborist.
Tree moss is generally harmless and can actually be beneficial under the right circumstances. Many trees that are serviced by Mr. Tree in the Portland area have moss on or around them. The reason for moss being on the trees is pretty simple, and the effect it has on the trees is quite low. If you have moss on your tree and are wondering what it can possibly mean for the tree itself, here are a few examples.
It’s in a Moist Environment
There’s a reason you don’t see a lot of moss growing in the desert. Moss thrives when it’s living in cool, wet, and shaded areas, which is why it’s so common in the Pacific Northwest. The cloudy and rainy weather work in the favor of moss, making it more susceptible to grow in a variety of places. If you’re seeing moss on your tree, it could just be confirmation that your tree is living in an environment that has a lot of moisture. Because moss is looking for moisture, and not just rain, it’s common in places with high humidity as well. So having moss on your tree just means that it can survive there.
It Needs To Be Pruned
If there’s an excess of moss on your tree or you find that it’s only growing in certain places, you may need to have your tree pruned. As trees grow, their branches can start to grow wild or extra branches can begin to form. When tree branches grow too close to each other, they can block the sunlight from reaching certain areas of the tree. This creates a perfect shaded environment for the moss to grow in, but it can also mean that your tree isn’t getting all the sunlight it needs.
When this happens to your tree, you should enlist the help of professional arborists in your area. Mr. Tree offers tree pruning services to the Portland, Oregon, area and can prune your tree without creating any other issues. When pruning is done by tree owners, it can often lead to tree damage. Specific tools are used to prune a tree properly, and knowing how to cut your tree correctly can ensure that it isn’t exposed to disease.
It Might Be Prone to Breakage
If your tree has a lot of moss on its surface, it can become a safety hazard on your property. Though the moss itself isn’t damaging anything, what it carries can play a part in the demise of your tree. One of the great features of moss is that it can absorb excess water, but if it’s holding too much water, it can become a lot heavier. That extra weight, if not distributed evenly around the tree, can cause stress and weakness on one side. It can lead to the collapse of the heavier side and possibly damage your property. It’s the same with an even dispersion of moss: your tree may be more susceptible to wind storms knocking it down, as the tree is holding on to more weight than it should be.
It May Be Hiding Damage
Moss does a good job of covering large areas, and its thick surface can stick out inches from the tree bark. This can create a unique look for your tree, but it can also hide damage from disease or infestation. Though there are many positives to having moss on your tree, not knowing what’s going on behind the moss can prove to be a real issue.
Possible damage being hidden by moss can be enough reason for people to want to remove moss from their trees. Many trees are able to be saved from the harmful effects of disease or infestation because tree owners spot a problem early on. The job of visual inspections becomes much harder for tree owners when moss overtakes large areas, which is one reason why people choose to have it removed.
You’re Overwatering It
There’s such a thing as too much water for your tree. If your tree has a lot of moss growing on or around it and you don’t think it’s because of the weather, it could be caused by something you’re doing. Overwatering provides moss with the moisture it needs to thrive, especially on the ground or lower on the tree. Moss is actually your tree’s ally in this situation because overwatering can easily drown out the roots of your tree and cause it to die. When a tree is being overwatered but the roots and lower portions of the tree are covered in moss, the moss will absorb the excess water and shield the tree from drowning. It can also prevent soil erosion.
Still, overwatering should be addressed. Even in the summertime, trees don’t need to be watered more than every couple of weeks, unless the weather is extremely dry.
It Has Better Air Quality
Moss growing on your tree has some benefits, one being that it can create better air quality around your tree. When moss is on a tree, it’s able to grab pollutants from the air. The pollutants that it grabs will then cling to the surface of the moss where they’re converted into the plant’s biomass. This can create a healthier living environment for the tree, as well as anyone around it. For that reason, many people choose to embrace the moss growing on their trees so long as they can easily determine it isn’t hiding any damage.