9 Types Of Moss That Grows On Trees

Moss That Grows On Trees: Moss is a type of plant that can be found growing on trees in many parts of the world. There are many different types of moss, and each one has its own unique characteristics.

Some types of moss are more common than others, but all of them have the ability to thrive in moist environments.

However, there is a common misconception that moss only grows in shady areas! when in fact, moss can grow in a variety of habitats, including sunny areas like trees.

Now, there are a number of reasons why moss grows on the trees, but, before we get into that, let’s take a look at the different types of moss that can be found on trees.

9 Types Of Moss That Grows On Trees


How To Remove Moss

1. Tree Moss

Tree moss (Order Bryales) is a type of moss that grows on the bark of trees that’s green in color, the female plant has spores on the tips that are slightly reddish-brown.

This type of moss is common in Europe, North America and can be found on a variety of trees, including oak, pine, and spruce.

It typically grows in patches on branches and has a woolly texture that can reach heights of (2 to 4 inches).

It’s important to note that tree moss does not harm the tree and is actually quite beneficial as it helps to retain moisture in the bark.

Some Common Characteristics Of Tree Moss Include:

  • Has A Woolly Texture
  • Grows In Patches On Branches
  • Thrives In Moist Environments
  • Can Reach Heights Of 2 To 4 Inches

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2. Spanish Moss

Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is a type of moss that’s found in the southeastern United States, Central America, and parts of South America.

It gets its name from the fact that it was introduced to North America by Spanish missionaries in the 1700s.

This type of moss is typically seen hanging from trees, often looking like long strands of white hair. The hanging structure can grow up to 6 m (20 feet) in length and has a cotton-like texture.

Instead of roots, this moss uses its white hair that has scales on the exterior to absorb water and nutrients. This moss is also non-parasitic meaning it poses no harm to the tree.

Some Common Characteristics Of Spanish Moss Include:

  • Moss Is Non-Parasitic
  • Has Scales On Its Exterior
  • Grows Up To 20 Feet In Length
  • Hangs Down From Trees

3. Mood Moss

Mood Moss (Dicranum Scoparium) typically grows on the trunks of trees and can reach heights of 3 to 4 inches.

However, this moss has a unique feature, it can change into different shades of green depending on the weather getting its name mood moss.

For example, if it’s growing in a shady area, it will be dark green, but if it’s growing in a sunny area, it will be light green. Mood moss is good for the tree and helps to retain moisture in the bark.

This type of moss can be found in the Pacific Northwest region of North America.

Some Common Characteristics Of Mood Moss Include:

  • Grows On The Trunks Of Trees
  • Can Reach Heights of Up To 12 Inches
  • Helps Retain Moisture In Bark
  • Changes Different Shades Of Green

4. Feather Moss

There are many different types of feather moss however this one (Kindbergia Praelonga) is very common and can be found in many parts of the world.

This type of feather moss typically grows on the ground, however, it can also be found growing on the trunks of trees.

It has thin, green leaves that have triangular-shaped tips and gets its name from the fact that it looks like feathers. It grows 3cm long and grows best in damp shaded areas of the tree.

Some Common Characteristics Of Feather Moss Include:

  • Grows On Trunks Of Trees
  • Leaves Have Triangular-Shaped Tips
  • Grows Up To A Length of 3cm
  • Prefers Damp Shaded Areas

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5. Shaggy Moss

Shaggy moss (Rhytidiadelphus Triquetrus) is usually found in the united kingdom and grows either on the ground, on decaying logs, or on the trees.

Its light green can grow up to (20cm) in height and thrives in moist environments.

This moss gets its name from the fact that it has a shaggy texture and can be easily identified by its long, twisted stems.

Some Common Characteristics Of Shaggy Moss Include:

  • Grows Up To A Length of 20cm
  • Thrives In Moist Environments
  • Has A Shaggy Texture
  • Long, Twisted Stems
Moss on a trees

6. Seductive Moss

Seductive moss (Entodon Seductrix) is another type that grows on the floor, stones, tree trunks, and branches. It’s a very shiny type of moss and has dark green leaves that can grow up to 5 inches tall.

This moss can also be found growing on dead and rotting trees which is usually in shaded and moist areas and is quite attractive in appearance getting its name “seductive moss”.

It’s a very resilient type of moss that can hold up in the coldest climates. For trees, this can be very beneficial as protects them from harsh weather conditions.

Some Common Characteristics Of Seductive Moss Include:

  • Has An Attractive Appearance
  • Can Be Found On Trunks, Branches
  • Thrives In Shaded, Moist Areas
  • Grows Up To 5 Inches

7. Sheet Moss

Sheet Moss (Hypnum Curvifolium) is more of a ground moss, that spreads out like a carpet getting its name sheet moss. However, it can be found growing on dead wood and this includes dead trees.

Much like Seductive Moss this moss thrives in shaded, moist areas and can vary in size, depending on its surroundings.

The moss itself has a light green look and the texture is much a rugged carpet. It can grow in warm and cold climates, however, this type doesn’t do well in direct sunlight.

Some Common Characteristics Of Sheet Moss Include:

  • Grows On Dead Fallen Trees
  • Thrives In Shaded, Moist Areas
  • Has A Rugged Carpet Texture
  • Varies In Size

8. Fire Moss

Fire Moss (Ceratodon Purpureus) is definitely a unique type of moss and is typically found growing on burnt trees in post-wildfire environments.

The moss is green in color and has red-colored stalks that are around (0.5 inches) which forms dense tufts or patches on the burnt trees.

This moss is widespread in places like Canada and the United States and can withstand higher pollution levels compared to your average moss and prefers lots of light but it’s also shade tolerant.

Some Common Characteristics Of Sheet Moss Include:

  • Grows On Burnt Trees
  • Forms Dense Tufts
  • Prefers High Light
  • Stalks Grows 0.5 Inch

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Why Does Moss Grow On Trees?

Moss grows on trees for a number of reasons, including the availability of moisture and nutrients, and the presence of suitable habitat.

Moss needs a moist area and plenty of sunlight to photosynthesize, and trees provide both of these things.

It can also grow on any part of a tree where it has access to these things – on the trunk, branches, leaves, and even the roots.

Another reason why moss grows on trees is that the tree’s bark is covered in lichens!

Lichens are a type of symbiotic relationship between two different types of organisms – a fungus and an alga. Lichens attach themselves to tree bark, providing a perfect place for moss to grow.

Can It Be Harmful To Trees?

Moss can provide many benefits to trees, including protection from wind and sun damage, improved water retention, and increased soil stability.

However, if you leave the moss to grow on the tree it can smother new buds and after a while, it can become a nuisance!

With that said, if you have moss that’s quite attractive like the “Seductive moss” then there’s no harm in leaving it on the tree.

Where Does Moss Grow On Trees?

Moss can pretty much grow anywhere on trees! But, only if the conditions are right for that type of moss! For example, some moss will grow thicker on the north side of trees where it is shady and moist.

This is mainly because moss is very sensitive to moisture and if the south side does dry quicker than the north side then that is where all the moss will grow.

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Can Moss Be Removed From The Trees?

Moss is a type of plant that grows on trees, which can be removed in various ways. One way to remove moss from the tree is to use a pressure washer!

This is the most effective and efficient way of removing moss from the tree, as it’s only water your using and not chemicals.

However, if you don’t have access to a pressure washer then moss can also be removed by using a chemical treatment such as bleach or vinegar.

Methods For Removing Moss From A Tree:

  • Use Presure Washer (Recommended)
  • Use Bleach Or Vinegar

You will find that moss is easier to remove when it is in its early stages. But once the moss has established itself, removing it becomes much more difficult.

You also need to be carful of moss spores! If spores are blasted using a presure washer they can easily break off and spread to other parts of your garden!

How To Remove The Moss From A Tree:

  1. Gently Scrap Off Using A Blunt Tool Or Brush
  2. Finish Using A Presure Washer

To avoid this it’s best to gently scrape off the loss moss by hand first using a blunt tool or brush and then finish off using the pressure washer.

Can You Prevent Moss Growing On Trees?

Can you prevent moss from growing on trees? Moss will grow on trees if the condition is right! Which are usually moist and shady.

Trying to prevent moss from growing on the tree can be easier said than done, but it’s not impossible! It will require regular maintenance to keep the tree dry and clean.

Tips For Preventing Moss Growing On Trees:

  • Keep Your Tree Mulched
  • Keep Your Tree’s Surface Dry
  • Scrub Down The Tree Weekly

Final Thoughts

There are many different types of moss that can grow on trees. While some people may see moss as a nuisance, it’s important to remember that it serves an important purpose in the environment.

If you’re not sure how to get rid of moss that’s growing on your trees, be sure to check out our moss removal category!

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