Collecting Moss for Bonsai

i was wondering if there is anything to be worried about when collecting moss for your trees. could collected moss pose a health problem for your tree? is moss usually free from unwanted critters?

Good question - I don’t know of any health concerns in terms of pathogens, but I have seen grubs in moss. If you know of a local pathogen you’re trying to avoid or potentially disruptive bugs, it might be worth thinking about or inspecting the moss closely before using it.

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It looks like you’re picking it up off the ground, but just in case you take any off of trees, be careful to never pick the lichen off, it’s fragile and often endangered.

i didn’t know that. interesting. there’s a lot of lichen growing on the trees in my area. probably like the high humidity.

There is some stuff you’ll see in garden centers. It might be called “Irish Moss” and it has some other names. AVOID IT. It’s sometimes used in landscaping between paving stones to stabilize them. It has very long roots and once established in a pot, with the roots deep around your tree roots, it can be very difficult to remove.
I’m sure someone here has the correct names and what else to look.for. In the Pacific Northwest, I’ve never seen it in the wild.
I’ve had best luck collecting moss for my trees from large rock formations that are mostly shaded. It’s quite easy to remove. Of course, you’ll discover multiple species including weeds in the stuff you’ll collect.