Demossing by Hand and Spraying

Providing Demossing Services to Commercial & Residential Customers Throughout the Tampa Bay Area

Spanish Moss

Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides), is part of the Pineapple Family (Bromeliaceae) is a native, perennial epiphytic herb. What is an epiphyte you might ask?

Epiphytes are plants that attach themselves to limbs, tree trunks, power lines, fences, and many other structures with pseudo-roots. These are not true roots though. Spanish moss is not Spanish, nor a moss, but a flowering plant, which is kind of a paradox for the name. Yet the slender, wiry, long, branching stems grow as suspended, bluish-gray streamers and garlands draping among tree branches and sometimes telephone lines and fences as mentioned earlier. It is not parasitic, as is often thought, but attaches itself to trees for support. The plant has no roots but derives its nutrients from rainfall, detritus and airborne dust.

Spanish moss grows on trees in areas of high humidity (It loves Florida). It can be found on live oak and pines that border estuaries, rivers, swamps, and along the coastal plains of the Southeastern United States. Although Spanish moss does not take nutrients from the host tree, it should be thinned if it becomes too thick. This is because it may either shade the tree’s leaves (stop the photosynthesis) or, when it is wet it can become very heavy and the branches may break under its weight, even more so under high winds.

Ball Moss

Ball Moss: (Tillandsia recurvata) is the grayish-green “pincushion-like” growth seen on the bark or on the limbs on the inside of the canopy. Ball moss does not like direct sunlight so under the canopy is its favorite place.  Pruning the tree to get some filtered light on the inside of the tree is recommended.


Lichens:  Lichens are unusual creatures. Lichen is not a single organism the way most other living things are, but rather it is a combination of two organisms which live together intimately. Most of the lichen is composed of fungal filaments, but living among the filaments are algal cells, usually from a green alga or a cyanobacterium.

In many cases the fungus and the alga which  are together make the lichen, you may find each living in nature without its partner, but many other lichens include a fungus which cannot survive on its own — it has become dependent on its algal partner for survival. In all cases though, the appearance of the fungus in the lichen is quite different from its morphology as a separately growing individual.


Actively using all three methods picking, pruning or spraying is best. Each method alone may not provide adequate control. Performing a combination of all three methods results in the most thorough treatment and removal. Thus demossing by hand and spray. Chemical treatment is best in spring. (February through May) Also note chemical has a blue color and can stain brick walls, roofs and driveways so precautions must be taken.

Picking involves physically pulling each plant off the tree. This method can be very effective, but is extremely tedious and labor intensive. Contact Panorama Tree Care for a free consultation to determine your best solution.