Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
3 ratings

Friday - March 23, 2007

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Trees
Title: Control of ball moss in oak trees
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live in San Marcos, Texas and I have a two acre lot with lots of oak trees. Most of these trees have so much ballmoss attached to them that the leaves and branches are not visible anymore. Is there anything I can do about this without damaging the trees? Any preventing measures that I can take to prevent the propagation of the ballmoss to the few healthy trees left?

ANSWER:

Ball moss Tillandsia recurvata (small ballmoss) is an interesting plant, but it can also be a pest. The good news is that it is not parasitic, however it can cause harm to the host tree by shading buds and young leaves. Control can involve physical removal (carefully), spraying with Kocide, or spraying with baking soda. See Texas Cooperative Extension Horticulture for details. Removing damaged limbs, thus eliminating ball moss plants that serve as a seed source, can limit the spread of new plants to uninfected trees.

 

From the Image Gallery


Small ball moss
Tillandsia recurvata

More Trees Questions

Something dripping from red oak in Austin
July 30, 2012 - There is a large red oak outside my apartment. The leaves are shiny and covered with what appears to be oil. The ground underneath is coated with this also. When I parked under the tree my car beca...
view the full question and answer

Should I use wound paint when pruning my live oak tree?
February 04, 2010 - When trimming live oak branches, is it best to coat the wound on the tree? I have been doing this but have recently heard that it can actually be bad for the tree.
view the full question and answer

Mexican oak and red oak not looking healthy
August 02, 2014 - I purchased a Mexican oak tree and I believe a red oak tree from your center about 1 year ago. Recently I've noticed that they don't look as healthy as they have been, and I just looked at the leave...
view the full question and answer

Rhododendrons for afternoon sun
September 10, 2008 - Thanks for your suggestion that I plant rhodedenrons in my Brooklyn garden. In fact, the only bushes I've planted in the past that have survived are rhodedenrons so your definitely right! Here's my...
view the full question and answer

Problems with volunteer tree in Joshua TX
February 15, 2012 - I have a 'volunteer' tree which has been in our back yard for about 15 years. It has had the usual traumas, ie. lots of snow, ice, etc. but after last years drought, its bark is coming off and sev...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.