What is Ball Moss?
Ball moss commonly grows as an epiphyte (non-parasitic plant living on other plants), similar to many other bromeliads as well as orchids, ferns, and lichens. In this area, ball moss especially favors the shady habitat of the lower and interior limbs of live oaks. Ball moss anchors its pseudo-roots into the bark, but derives no nutrients from the tree. It lives by absorbing water and nutrients from the atmosphere.
Do You Need Ball Moss Removal?
Limbs heavily infested with ball moss may break off under the added weight, especially during rains or wind storms. Usually these fallen branches are dead or dying, leading some people to conclude that the ball moss had killed the limbs. In live oaks, however, interior branches tend to die from lack of sunlight, whether there is any ball moss or not.
Ball moss can weaken and perhaps kill trees. Ball moss fastens itself with tendrils that encircle the stems and branches on which it grows. In time, the tendrils tighten their grip and reduce circulation in the host plant. In addition, John believes heavy growths of ball moss retard bud development.