Spanish Moss - Friend or Foe?

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IF YOU ASK PEOPLE TO CLOSE THEIR EYES AND DESCRIBE SAVANNAH I’ll bet nine times out of ten they’ll list picturesque graveyards, brightly painted houses, and quiet streets with quaint shops. Personally, I always include giant oak trees stretching toward the sky, with Spanish moss draped in the branches.  It’s beautiful and it is definitely a fact of life when living in the South! 

It’s a bit of a misnomer, however; Spanish moss is neither Spanish nor moss! It earned its name from early French colonists, who thought it looked like the beards the conquistadors wore, so they started referring to it as ‘Barbe Espagnole’ (Spanish beard) and the name just stuck. The plant is actually part of the pineapple family, and through the ages has been used to make rope, horse blankets, and even padding for car seats in the early 1900s! Spanish moss is also a home to three types of bats, rat snakes, and jumping spiders (all friends as long as they remain outdoors 😉)

Some people think that Spanish moss is a parasite, but it actually doesn’t harm the trees. It’s a completely self-sustaining plant. The only dangers come from the Spanish moss getting too heavy (which can cause branches to break) or it getting too thick, which prevents the tree from getting the sun that it needs (thereby stunting you tree’s growth). Spanish moss is easily removed by pulling, though always take the proper safety precautions when working from heights! If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can always hire a landscaper to take care of it for you. A great one in the area is Wells Lawncare Services


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