How to Kill Ball Moss


Ball moss (Tillandsia recurvata) is usually harmless since it is unlike true moss that absorbs valuable nutrients from the trees. Instead, ball moss uses a tree as its home, not its food source. Over time, ball moss can become heavy and dense. This can cause your tree to bud less and may kill some of the branches. Whether the ball moss is harming your tree or you simply do not like the way it looks, there are ways to kill ball moss which do not require any chemicals.

Step 1

Put on the garden gloves. Remove as much ball moss as you can with your hands. Use a ladder, if necessary. Landscapers often use cherry pickers. Throw the balls away in bags or take them to your local dump.

Step 2

Power wash the tree. Use a low setting to wash away the ball moss. Discard the ball moss so that it does not reseed.

Step 3

Mix the baking soda and water in a spray bottle. Wet the ball moss with a hose and spray it with the baking soda and water mixture. The wet moss will absorb the mixture and die.

Step 4

Apply a fungicide as an alternative to the baking soda mixture. Use a fungicide that contains copper, such as Kocide 101, and is labeled to kill ball moss. Apply the fungicide according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some fungicides are only safe for use on certain types of trees, such as live oak and pecan trees.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Ladder
  • Power washer
  • Hose
  • Baking soda, 1/2 lb.
  • Water, 1 gallon
  • Spray bottle
  • Copper fungicide (optional)


  • Round Rock Texas: Funny Stuff Growing on Tree is Ball Moss and Mistletoe
  • The Lazy Gardener: Ball Moss isn't Completely Harmless
Keywords: kill ball moss, Tillandsia recurvata, ball moss removal

About this Author

Melissa Lewis graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has written over 20 episodes for the radio drama entitled "A Work in Progress." She also writes for several online outlets, including Gardenguides, Travels and Examiner, and is currently finalizing a movie script to be filmed in 2010.