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How to Kill Ball Moss

By Melissa Lewis ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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.

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

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.

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.


Things You Will Need

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


  • Read fungicide labels carefully to determine whether they will harm or kill nearby plants.
  • Do not get the copper fungicide on any other objects, such as a nearby building, as it can leave a blue stain.


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

About the Author


Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.