What Side of the Tree Does Moss Grow On?

When you look out to your yard at your trees, you might wonder, “What side of the tree does moss grow on?” To answer this, let’s take a deeper look into how different factors influence moss’s growth and spread. It’s time to become an expert in all things mossy!

In this guide by Fallen Leaf Tree, a professional tree service in Sacramento, CA, we explain what you need to know about where moss grows and why.

Why Does Moss Grow on Trees?

Moss can grow anywhere that has the right conditions: a water source, high humidity, shade, and a rough, craggy surface for spores to grow.

The amount of water is important — too little hinders moss’s growth.

Specific types of tree bark encourage moss growth better. Moss loves tree bark that has rough surfaces full of fissures and pockets.

While moss is not bad for your trees, some types of moss, like Spanish moss, can weigh down tree branches or block sunlight to leaves. Most trees grow faster than the moss on them, so even if you see moss creeping up your oak tree’s trunk, you likely don’t need to remove it. 

Moss on Trees: What Side of the Tree Does Moss Grow On?

You might have heard the myth that moss only grows on the north side of trees. This is not true, but when you understand the perfect conditions for moss growth, you can see why this myth got started. 

Moss thrives in shady conditions. Unlike most plants that need direct sunlight, moss needs shade and water to grow. In the northern hemisphere, the north side of trees is shadier, so moss more commonly grows there. This pattern changes slightly in southern regions. Here, moss tends to thrive mainly on south-facing surfaces.

Moss also grows in a variety of places that have the proper shady conditions and damp ground: logs, the ground, and rocks.

Moss Survival Strategies

Mosses have developed some impressive methods of coping with different climates and habitats. Moss can survive under a variety of light exposures, from full sunlight down to low light settings. Most plants can also multiply rapidly when through spore release as well as physically regrowing after destruction or damage.

Winter Resilience

Mosses show remarkable resilience to the cold winter months, as well as more intense weather conditions. Moss plants are non-vascular, which means there are no interconnected vessels that move water and nutrients throughout the plant (similar to veins that move blood around our bodies). Moss has natural anti-freeze abilities, which allow it to withstand extreme temperatures and torrential rain throughout any season.

Adapting to Sunlight

Mosses prefer living in the shade but can survive in different types of light conditions. One example is Bryum caespiticium, which actually thrives even when there’s direct sunlight on it.

Mosses adapt depending on where they grow. From shaded forest floors to south-facing sides of trees that get plenty of sunshine, these unique primitive plants know how to thrive in any type of growing space.

Contact Sacramento’s Trusted Tree Care Company

At Fallen Leaf Tree, we provide tree care services throughout Sacramento. We can answer questions like “What side of the tree does moss grow on?” and help you keep your trees healthy with trimming and pruning.

If you’re concerned about moss or organic material growing on your trees, our certified arborists can inspect the moss or fungi on trees and remove it if necessary to keep your trees healthy. 

Call us at 916-447-8733, and we’ll get back to you with a free tree care estimate.

Fallen Leaf Tree Management

Expert Tree Care in the heart of Sacramento & surrounding areas with your satisfaction guaranteed. One of our Arborists can give you a comprehensive evaluation on all the trees and shrubs in your landscape and give you a scheduled maintenance plan. Call for an arborist consultation.



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