Mould on maple tree and maple shoots


I have a 52 year old maple at the south side of the house in full sun- the tree is healthy looking, however, what I believe to be moss is growing on all sides of the trunk and the roots are emerging at the base of the tree. I have been speading bags of soil around the base for a few years now, but not sure how to deal with this issue. Soil type is typically clay few feet below with sod and 3-in-1 and organic manure added each year. Location of tree is close to our driveway on one side. I’m worried about any long term impacts to the maple and really appreciate your advice.


Hi there and thank you for your questions.

The first attachment is a link to a previous post on this subject. Moss is nothing to worry about. It is a sign of good air quality. You’ve probably noticed moss and lichen in healthy forests.

The small maple shoots growing at the base of the tree can definitely weaken the maple. I’ve attached a link to an article addressing this problem from Purdue University’s College of Agriculture. It describes how and when to remove the shoots. In the article, you will find reference to what could also be a problem for you, the smothering of the flare at the base of the tree. Many gardeners feel they need to cover the exposed roots with soil or mulch, and create a volcano effect at the base of their trees. We call this the “Cone of Death” as it can prevent the tree from accessing the oxygen it needs. Removing some of the soil may help your tree, especially since a good portion of the roots are running under the driveway.