News from IAB

The mission of the International Association of Bryologists (IAB), as a society, is to strengthen bryology by encouraging interactions among all persons interested in byophytes.

Monday, August 11, 2008

encouraging mosses

Hi Bob

I saw your request for info on promoting moss spread via a series of emails.
I have been involved in trials using native moss species to speed
revegetation of 900 ha of mine overburden at Grasberg (4000m), Irian Jaya,
and now at a site here in New Zealand.
Our most successful treatments (in a climate lab and now in the field) used
moss fragments, partially dried then spread onto the surface. As the surface
is totally devoid of soil, the best results have been with additions of
organic fertiliser and/or some form of artificial cover to reduce moisture
loss in the early stages of moss establishment.
Please let me know if I can be of more help. I would be interested in any
other techniques that you have heard of.

Rowan Buxton
Plant Ecologist
Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd
PO Box 69
Lincoln, Canterbury
New Zealand
Ph: +64 3 325 6701 ext 3788
Fax: +64 3 325 2418

Bob, Try this site, it's quite informative:
I've heard that blending some mosses and lichens into a "slurry" and
spraying them onto the appropriate location works well. Needs the right
species for the right location and the right timing. Also there are the
usual ethical problems of disturbing intact healthy communities, etc.
Please keep me informed of your success or otherwise. I'm interested in
restoration of our southern Vancouver Is. moss balds. Mining reclamation
sometimes deal with this, you might try some of their publications. Good
luck, Moralea

Bob, I've never hear about buttermilk for moss, but an old fellow I met
recently was extolling the virtues of Guiness beer for growing virtually
anything! I never asked, but hopefully this was only the product of
drinking Guiness! Michael Keefer

Hi again Bob,

Have you talked to Lynne Atwood? She did a grind-and-hydroseed (except I
guess there weren't really seeds involved) microbiotic crust restoration on
a pipeline project in the Okanagan. Her email is

See ya,

I have not tryed it [buttermilk] myself but have been told that it works by
someone who
had experimented with it. Apparently the trick is to let the milk go sour
first. Dorothy

We have done a lot of transplants of lichen tissues and mosses as well for
air pollution studies and ungulate winter range reclamation work (since
1979). We have a large file of journal papers on the topic. I have never
seen anyone use buttermilk. I used to use a dilute knox's gelatin for
arboreal transplants onto branches of Alectoria sarmentosa, but dont bother
with that now if I use a powerful refit leafblower that seems to work. For
terrestrial lichens and mosses I just screef the soil and press the
transplant in. It is best to have them on a slight angle against the side of
a fallen tree or a rock. Usually fall time works well because the added
moisture and cool temperatures give the plants a chance to recover and start
rhyzine etc. development. We have found transplants to be exceptionally
successful, even in polluted but recovering environments.

kat enns
Larkspur Biological Consultants Ltd
Castlegar, BC

I looked into a 'mossing' project about three years ago on the
internet. The most credible recommendation was from someone in
Maine who said he had done a large area under deciduous trees that
had been very mossy before construction disturbances. He acidified
the ground using sulphur compounds, then transplanted during the
damp spring.
As iron sulphate is the choice for moss removal in lawns, it may be
that another compound was used. I don't recall that detail.

He also found that protecting his new mosses from invasion by local
grasses was very time-consuming. That killed the idea for me and we
used shrubs instead.

I think it might be valuable to compare the pH of the soil at the
sourcing with the pH value in the planting area to see if adjustment is

Hope this is helpful.

[Kat's reply to Dennis]
You are right about pH, but exposure is just as important. Trying to match
the character of the source site to the transplant site is critical, and
grass invasion is always a problem. It was in the Chilcotin as well. I was
always nervous about the effect I was having on the source site, and have
been back to some of them. They seem to have grown in with a mix of plants
including some of the original lichens and mosses.


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