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Old 07-06-2010, 05:00 PM
 
Location: The South
767 posts, read 1,333,945 times
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I was going to chime in on the problem, then I reread the title and it said "moss", not mess.

Last edited by mccarley; 07-06-2010 at 05:00 PM.. Reason: added word
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Old 01-07-2012, 10:40 AM
 
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So glad this question was asked! I'm a Louisiana transplant to Gardendale (post Katrina) and miss my moss so much!!!! I have never seen any Spanish moss in the Birmingham area that I can recall, however, on a recent trip home (to Gardendale from La.), we passed a lovely old homeplace south of Fayette and there was moss EVERYWHERE. It was stunningly beautiful and stood out such that I had to back up and take a second look. There was no moss on either side of this rather large estate. I'm determined that the next time I pass that home I'm going to just stop in and ask about it. It gave me some hope that I could have moss at my new home - but, from what I'm reading here I'm not very optimistic now. I will be bringing a large supply back for my flower beds and hanging baskets on my next trip.
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Old 01-07-2012, 04:17 PM
 
5,873 posts, read 8,069,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bayougirl415 View Post
So glad this question was asked! I'm a Louisiana transplant to Gardendale (post Katrina) and miss my moss so much!!!! I have never seen any Spanish moss in the Birmingham area that I can recall, however, on a recent trip home (to Gardendale from La.), we passed a lovely old homeplace south of Fayette and there was moss EVERYWHERE. It was stunningly beautiful and stood out such that I had to back up and take a second look. There was no moss on either side of this rather large estate. I'm determined that the next time I pass that home I'm going to just stop in and ask about it. It gave me some hope that I could have moss at my new home - but, from what I'm reading here I'm not very optimistic now. I will be bringing a large supply back for my flower beds and hanging baskets on my next trip.
Call Jefferson or Shelby County Extension Office or the respective Master Gardeners. I tried this a few years back and ended up with fungi coming up all over the yard. It was neither easy nor inexpensive to clean up.
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:48 AM
 
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My little moss plants are still alive. I only brought home 4. They produced something that looked like seed pods the first year I put them out. The birds did indeed take two of them for nests..lol. The remaining two are still green and growing. I check my surrounding trees for signs of spreading....Still watching and hoping. Patience is indeed a virtue in gardening as in life.
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:19 PM
 
Location: Alabama!
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So when Spanish moss is devouring all the trees in Birmingham, we'll have you to thank?
Just kidding!
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:04 AM
 
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Default Spainish Moss

I feel compelled to set the record straight on the growth habits of Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) and the areas it could be expected to grow in. Spanish moss is the most widely distributed member of the Bromeliaceae, and is a close relative of the Pineapple. Spanish moss is very cold hardy, and is being grown as far north as some areas of Tennessee. I, personally, have had it growing at my Alabama home in Mt. Olive for several years.

The primary controlling factor in growing the plant is humidity, and has nothing to do with altitude or being in the far south. It loves damp areas and this is the reason it is often seen near lakes and rivers. It does have a limit as far as cold hardiness, as does many other of the plants that can be grown in more northerly areas of Alabama. This limit, like the limiting factors of many other plants, is based as much on the duration of severe cold as it is the minimum temperature that it is exposed to. Suffice to say that my plants have never sustained any damage due to cold weather, as it is rare for temperatures in this area to fall below 10 degrees or for it to remain below freezing for several days at a time as is the norm in more northerly climes. My moss is growing in a large Coastal Live Oak in my yard, but it is just as much at home in most any other tree. One of the comments on this thread was correct in saying that the birds will take it off at nest building season. In fact, birds are probably the primary problem with growing it in areas that it is not really prolific. You just have to keep replenishing it until there is enough of it for birds to take a little every season. When it begins to grow, it will stay ahead of what the birds take. The plant reproduces both by seeds and by vegetative growth. When small pieces of the plant are broken off and moved (usually by wind or animals) to another appropriate growth site, they will begin to grow into new plants. Dissemination of Spanish moss through vegetative reproduction is greatly accelerated by violent storms. Seeds appear to disperse between December and March. While little is known about conditions necessary for germination, the seeds do germinate and become fixed to their new growth site after being distributed by the wind.

They are not parasites. Without soil as a source of nutrients, these plants have evolved the capacity to make use of minerals dissolved in the water which flows across leaves and down branches. It is seldom harmful to the it's host tree for the above reason. Some slight degradation of the host may be caused by heavy crops of it shading portions of the tree.

Many other plants, such as palms, that are prolific in the southern portion of the Southeastern U.S., can also be grown out of their USDA zone. Many is the time that someone stops and asks me how I get the palms to grow in my yard. Most people do not have an understanding of plants and their habitats, in fact, I dare say that very few people in the Birmingham area know that there is a variety of palm that is native to Jefferson County.

I hope this has been helpful to those that would like to try their hand at growing SM. I hope that I have not come across as being a "know it all" as what knowledge I have has been a lifetime in coming, and through much trial and error. I also have a home in Panama City Beach, where I am presently writing this from, so if there are any questions that I could help anyone with, please feel free to post them.

Ray Adams
Member: Southeastern Palm Society
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:25 AM
 
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Ray Adams
Thank you for your post. Plants are living beings and thus occasionally surprise us. So did Kudzu, so ddi Australian Mimosa ... Due to the hilly terrain BHam offers a number of growing zones/micro climates.
Shelby County Master Gardener
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:48 PM
 
25,250 posts, read 27,370,393 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threestep View Post
Ray Adams
Thank you for your post. Plants are living beings and thus occasionally surprise us. So did Kudzu, so ddi Australian Mimosa ... Due to the hilly terrain BHam offers a number of growing zones/micro climates.
Shelby County Master Gardener
I've never really thought about it that way. Could you expand on that a little bit?
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Old 01-19-2012, 07:31 AM
 
5,873 posts, read 8,069,120 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
I've never really thought about it that way. Could you expand on that a little bit?
Just drive through town. We lived over the mountain off 280 - absolutely protected - and harvested pineapple. Try that in Chelsea.
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Old 01-19-2012, 07:46 AM
 
1 posts, read 1,313 times
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Smile Spanish Moss

Hello,
My name is Terry and I just wanted to briefly follow~up with what Ray was saying.
Spanish Moss is native up to Virginia Beach. During sub-freezing periods, the Moss simply becomes dormant. This can be for an extended period of time as well, so winter-time in most of the South shouldn't be a problem. Depending upon circumstances like duration of freezing and windchill, it is cold hardy to about 0F. (If doubtful consider what the coldest temps Virginia Beach may exp.) and as mentioned we can usually go a little colder with many plants.
Spanish Moss from more northern locales is at least a bit more cold hardy. In the Deep South, SM is very fine and soft, almost "fluffy". In northern locations it is more coarse and thicker (meaning the "thickness" of its leaves). I am pretty certain it is not a different species but more an ecotype.
I am in NJ (and in the northern half) and have tried it here about 4 years or so. I've had some die and had some live over those winters. So naturally at my location I am really pushing the limit, and for 2 of those Winters there has been below zero temps, -2F and -5 F last winter (though sub-zero has become more uncommon). So I wanted to pass along my personal exp. too in an even colder zone. I had even seen it flowering once after one of our winters. Though they are small and insignificant I was excited to see it, as that to me was proof that it not only survived but was healthy enough to flower. So far this winter has been mild and it looks great...I would have to think most of the Southeast would be humid enough for it. I don't really know my average humidity here, but the average annual rainfall is just around 50 inches if that helps.
Thanks for allowing me to partake. I saw some people discouraged and likely not going to try it, so I wanted to lend encouragement Based on my own exp. I would bet MONEY it will grow down there!
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