If you’re wondering about ball moss removal, you’re not alone. The proliferation of ball moss, specifically, has recently become a major problem, killing millions of acres of state-endowed native Central Texas forests. So what is it?

Ball-moss, scientifically called Phytolacca decrypters, is actually a natural weed. The name came about because of the way that it grows – as tree pruning cuts off its pollen-bearing leaves, it grows back in a different form. It’s been in the system for thousands of years, so tree and plant administrators know all about it. And it’s probably why most commercial tree pruning treatments for ball moss removal don’t work.

Weeds aren’t just irritating. They can also threaten or even kill people. As with most weeds, ball moss has an extreme reproductive capacity. Once a species of ball moss begins to reproduce, it will spread rapidly, covering an area of at least one square mile in just one to two weeks. That’s why removing it before it spreads too far is usually ineffective.

So how can you prevent this problem? A lot of tree service companies recommend using a non-selective insecticide, such as Diclofenac. But while it’s very broad-spectrum, it won’t be effective against every variety of ball moss. So don’t assume that if you have mistletoe removal or other kinds of tree maintenance issues, your company’s insecticide will be helpful. Instead, contact a tree service expert who can recommend an appropriate spray for your particular situation.

In addition to insecticides, some tree services recommend proper pruning, too. This may sound like an odd combination, but it’s not. First, proper pruning eliminates dead, damaged or weak branches. It also encourages new growth, which means the trees you’re removing have more energy and can “bounce back” more foliage when it starts to grow. This is important for ball moss removal because it means the plants are healthier and have more foliage to “sprout back” when their growing period is over. Proper pruning also means your company’s employees and contractors don’t miss any nooks and crannies where the tree has formed mounds.

Another problem with many tree services’ ball moss removal recommendations is the timing of when they apply insecticides or prune. While a company may recommend applying these chemicals when growth is heaviest, you might need to wait for the trees are mature completely. The key is to find out when the trees are at their most susceptible. If you’re not sure, ask your provider, because sometimes it’s best to wait until mature trees are on the tree.

How do you know the ball molds are in the tree? An expert tree removal service will be able to assess this for you, and let you know. Typically, experts use a tool called a tree finder, which is like a handheld x-ray machine. The x-ray reveals where the mounds are located within the tree. In some cases, if the presence of molds is confirmed on paper, the provider can then give you a manual removal estimate. Sometimes, if the provider uses a robot, you’ll just have to pay for the ball moss removal by the estimated time left on the tree.

When it comes to ball moss removal, it’s always best to hire a professional service that uses certified arborists to cut down your trees. While a certified arborist has been trained for this type of work, they’re also familiar with trees and how to treat them correctly. This means they won’t mess up your newly planted sapling. A certified arborist will also have the proper equipment on hand, so they won’t have to worry about making a costly mistake, or causing an injury to you or others during the ball moss removal process.