As I was cleaning up all the spanish moss from my yard after a recent windstorm, I got to thinking. This is enough to mulch most of my vegetable garden. Any reason why not?
I've used it to mulch ornamentals because I like the way it looks. Nothing bad has happened. It may not hold the water in as well as denser mulch.
I read somewhere that you should either microwave it or bake for half an hour at 200 degrees in the oven, otherwise there are some microscopic bugs that will multiply like crazy in the garden.
I used it in my containers as mulch, and they hold moisture really well.
I find it works fine as cover in a large pot - as a mulch . Tends to dry out quickly . Bugs are a non-issue .
Most of my Spanish moss gets eaten by the cows . It's one of their favorites .
Bugs might be a non-issue sometimes, but Spanish moss does harbor chiggers in many locations. Just handling it can cause misery for some people. Me, I don't get chiggers very easily for some reason, but if I do, it's usually because I have come in contact with Spanish moss. Craft directions always tell you to buy it packaged, or if you collect your own, to microwave it as yuliana mentions. I never heard of it harboring insects harmful to your garden, but chiggers are no fun. Even one can itch badly for weeks.
Better safe than sorry, maybe?
I hope it doesn't cause a problem! The last load of free mulch that a tree company dropped off on the back property has quite a bit of spanish moss mixed in with it. At least half the mulch seems to be camphor though so I'm hoping it acts as a natural insect repelant. At any rate I've already used quite a bit of the mulch, spanish moss included, in the flower beds.
I recently attended a workshop by Willow LaMonte--an organic herbal farmer--near Tampa Florida. She highly recommends spanish moss as a mulch--it's high in micronutrients and nitrogen. She said it only gets chiggers if it has laid on the ground. She uses it to construct a type of earth box also. She had so many reservations about commercial mulch and what you can get from the county landfill that I'm really going to focus on gathering more moss :)
www.funstainables.com home of the Splendy Solar Oven
Here is a link that might be useful: Splendy Solar Oven Kit.
Despite its name, Spanish moss is not a moss but an herb with epiphytic roots. Epiphytic plants absorb moisture and nutrients from the air as they cling to established plants for support. Tough, stringy fibers, good drainage and moderate absorption abilities make Spanish moss a useful mulch for gardens, landscapes and potted plants. Mulch creates a layer between the soil and the environment that regulates the soil temperature and moderates water evaporation. A layer of mulch also helps prevent weeds.
Excerpt from Wikipedia:
Spanish moss has been used for various purposes, including building insulation, mulch, packing material, mattress stuffing, and fiber. In the early 1900s it was used commercially in the padding of car seats. In 1939 over 10,000 tons of processed Spanish moss was produced. It is still collected today in smaller quantities for use in arts and crafts, or for beddings for flower gardens. It's a great mulch! (:
Spanish moss is also known to have been worn by the women of the Timucua Indian tribe.
Spanish moss shelters a number of creatures, including rat snakes and three species of bats. One species of jumping spider, Pelegrina tillandsiae, has been found only on Spanish moss. No chiggers unless it's been on the ground for a good amount of time. And even so, only in rare cases.
Good moss info:
A bit off topic but as far as mulch I agree with the comments about the landfill mulch being questionable and even the stuff from the private tree companies.you just don't know what is in it, disease wise. What I use and greatly prefer is the chips from the companies that do the line clearing for the electric companies. The reason is it is mostly healthy trees and it is the smaller limbs they are chipping so less chance for pathogens and because it is smaller limbs the wood contains more nitrogen.
Hard to beat free AND delivered to your home:)
That's brilliant bamboo!
I thought this thread needed a bump. I'm convinced Spanish moss is harmless but many aren't. Great idea for mulch, from the line clearing companies. (:
I don't think the moss is harmful either for the record. You are doing the power company or the company that trims for them a favor taking the chips as it costs them $100-$200 a load to take them to the dump.