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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone tried ball moss in a viv?
Whats ball moss?

Tillandsia recurvata

The Misunderstood Ball Moss
Tillandsia recurvata is a small, non-descript plant commonly found in Southwest Texas. Ironically,
although this plant benefits the environment by “fixing” atmospheric nitrogen, much like alfalfa and clover, it is
despised and eagerly eradicated. Most of us know this plant of ill repute as ball moss.
Ball moss is not a moss, but a true plant with flowers and seeds. A member of the Bromeliad family,
which includes the pineapple, ball moss is an epiphyte. Epiphytes attach themselves to limbs, tree trunks,
power lines, picket fences, and many other structures with their pseudo-roots. These are not true roots
because they do not absorb water and minerals; they merely attach the plant to an aerial structure. Therefore,
since epiphytes do not pilfer nutrients and water from their host, they are not parasites.
Because ball moss survives by absorbing water and nutrients from the surrounding atmosphere
through its leaves and stem, it prefers locales that have little air movement and high relative humidity. The
growth habit and thick canopy of the live oak tree provides ideal habitats.
Live oaks develop a type of canopy that is often described as “monolayer”, that is, very thick on the
exterior but quite open in the interior. This results in a low light, high humidity situation, which is ideally suited
for ball moss. As a result, ball moss is most often found on the dead interior branches of old live oaks.
However, it is erroneous to believe that ball moss kills these interior branches. These branches die for the
very same reason that the ball moss prefers the interior canopy—lack of sunlight. Likewise, branches, which
seem to be “smothered” by ball moss, would inevitably die as a result of changing light intensity and tree
For those who simply cannot stand the thought of ball moss being benign or worse, possessing
potential benefits, the recommended method to reduce a ball moss “infestation” is by pruning all the
deadwood and thinning the canopy every five years, a practice consistent with proper tree maintenance, or by
spraying with a fungicide, Kocide 101, for two consecutive Springs. Neither of these practices will remove all
the ball moss, but they will benefit the tree and certainly make you feel better.

Let me know what you all think of this interesting plant.
If you would like to get your hands on some to check out for yourself let me know i can get it by the truck load.

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That one is adapted to a dry climate and will die quickly in a tropical setup. Try some of the tillandsias that don't have a fuzzy exterior (ask the seller). They seem to do better in vivs than those with fuzz on them, which seem to like it drier.
Either way, mount them up high in the tank so they can stay dry.
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