Is Ball Moss Bad For Pecans – How To Kill Pecan Ball Moss

Is Ball Moss Bad For Pecans – How To Kill Pecan Ball Moss

By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
Image by NancyAyumi

Pecan ball moss control isn’t easy, and even if you manage to remove most ball moss in pecan trees, it’s nearly impossible to remove all the seeds. So, the burning question is, what can you do about ball moss in pecan trees? Read on to learn more.

What is Ball Moss?

Ball moss is an epiphytic plant that commonly grows in the interior limbs of trees where conditions are moist and shady. You may also notice ball moss on fence posts, rocks, power lines and other non-living hosts. Is ball moss bad for pecans? Opinions in the horticultural community are mixed. Many experts think ball moss in pecan trees is harmless because the plant isn’t a parasite – it takes nutrients from the air, not the tree.

The thinking in this camp is that when branches fall, it’s because they’re already dead or damaged due to a variety of reasons. Others think that sparse growth of ball moss in pecan trees is no problem, but a severe infestation can weaken the tree by blocking sunlight and preventing development of leaves.

How to Kill Pecan Ball Moss

You can remove ball moss in pecan trees the old-fashioned way – just blast the pesky plants with a strong stream of water or pick them off the tree with a long-handled rake or a stick with a hook on the end. Any dead branches should be removed.

If the infestation is severe and hand-removal is too difficult, you can spray the tree with fungicide in early spring. (Keep in mind that the balls may not fall off the tree until it rains.) Repeat the process the following spring to eliminate ball moss that was missed.

Some gardeners find that a baking-soda spray is effective on pecan trees with ball moss. The spray works by drying out the moss, which consists mostly of water.

Note: Before you declare war on ball moss in pecan trees, keep in mind that the moss is an important habitat for beneficial insects, and serves as an important source of nutrition for many songbirds.

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