Whether you’ve got a single conifer that you’ve nurtured for years or an orchard that is the jewel in your garden crown, a well-positioned tree’s aesthetic can be ruined when they become covered in moss.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for the natural look, mosses and lichens are just part of the woodland ecosystem and most won’t harm the tree – in fact, they can form a layer that helps retain water in times of drought.
If you’re still convinced that you need to stop moss on trees in your garden, read on and we’ll cover the best tips to freshen up the trunk of any tree – leaving it looking like the perfect specimen you want.
Removing by Hand
If you came here looking for a magic fix to remove moss on trees and shrubs, then we’re afraid there is no silver bullet. Instead, one of the best ways to remove moss is to take it off by hand.
This is particularly easy if you’ve developed a thick covering of green moss on the tree, just carefully take hold and peel the moss from the branches and trunk, freeing up any buds that may have been covered – giving the tree chance to send out new growth.
Using Copper Sulfate
Not everyone likes using chemical solutions to garden problems and it’s worth noting that the use of copper sulfate to remove moss is normally saved for cleaning roof tiles. That being said, you can use this method if you want to speed up the process and dry out the moss for easy removal from your tree trunks and branches.
You can purchase copper sulfate in handy spray containers which are already mixed with water and ready to use. Remember to wear a mask and goggles as a precaution and cover bare arms and legs to avoid a reaction to any splashback
To use, simply spray the moss with the copper sulfate solution and let it take action. Copper sulfate is a desiccant which causes the moss to dry out and shrivel up (like it does during hot weather). Once it’s gone brown and died, you will be able to easily brush all of the moss off your tree, leaving it fresh and clean.
Probably one of the most satisfying methods is to use a power washer to remove the moss from your tree. Make sure that you stand back from the tree incase any moss comes off at speed and remember to wear appropriate clothing and goggles when using a pressure washer.
You can either blast the moss and algae straight off with a pressure washer, or the power will help to loosen the moss and you can peel the remainder off by hand so that your tree is left clean.
It’s worth noting that moss and algae thrive in shaded, wet conditions – so try to do any pressure washer work when the weather is warm and you don’t expect rain. Otherwise, you might end up creating so much of a wet area around your tree that the moss and algae come back faster and stronger.
Now that we know how you can go about removing moss from trees, we thought it would also be worth discussing how to prevent it in the first place.
First, mosses and algae enjoy shaded areas – if your tree is in the shadows then you can expect moss to grow on the tree bark. Try pruning some branches and leaves back to let light reach the branches and trunk, the warm sunlight should help avoid moss growing.
One thing moss also loves is moisture and if your tree is often surrounded by damp ground, the chances are you will be giving moss a great headstart. Depending on where your tree is placed, try using a fork or other tool to create drainage holes and help get rid of any standing water around the base.