Burlap instead of moss?

I wrapped one of my cascading trees in burlap over the winter - because I don’t have a greenhouse with shelves and couldn’t put it on the ground - and when I took the burlap off this spring, there were roots growing right below the surface. It made me wonder if burlap would work for people in dryer climates that struggle to grow moss or even for people who have a problem with birds tearing apart their moss. I couldn’t think of a downside to it and thought I’d throw it out to the Mirai hive mind.


I and others use this practice in the hottest summer stretches in Texas. Sheets draped over the top and sides, holds soil moisture, and also helps to keep pots cooler, the sun off them, and the roots from cooking. It is unsightly on the benches to be sure, but better than the alternative. I top dress and apply moss via the Mirai method when I repot, but I don’t know if I know anyone in my club that can keep moss alive in containers with consistency. Thankfully I have a natural moss bed that grows on the North side of the house for large patches when needed.


I have used burlap for the past couple of years for any pots that are dark colored and in full sun to help protect from the heat. It doesn’t look as pretty as a good moss covering, but it does serve many of the same functions. It is also very birdproof. I’ve also found moss likes to grow under and around the burlap in some cases.


I like this idea! Does it seem to work to discourage other critters (chipmunks for example) from digging in the pots, burying seeds, etc? Or do they just push/pull it off?

I also use this to keep the birds from picking and tossing the moss off the containers. The downside is that the squirrels love to come out and try to pull it off the benches, I believe they use it as bedding for their nests. My trees don’t seem to care either way, as long as they get :shower:. :evergreen_tree::blush::+1:

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Great idea, I have a problem my substrate it is drying too fast, I can manage it in the spring but summer will be problematic for me. But using burlap will solve my problem.
Thanks to all for sharing this tip


I’ve noticed that this does a great job of allowing the whole container to be used as well. Agreed, not the best aesthetic, but it works well and even allows some moss from time to time.


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I wonder how thick that coir is? The nice thing about the burlap is that it’s so porous it easily lets water and oxegen through. But either way, for those who live in areas that are moss deficient there seems to be alternatives to protect your top layer of soil and help distribute water evenly.

It starts thin, like 1/4" but expands and slowly integrates into the soil as it expands. It easily lets water through maybe with the slight delay you’d get from a tree starting to lose percolation.

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