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Is county growing crape myrtle or moss tree?
The crape myrtle is in the parking lot next to the courthouse annex.
Editor, Which is it? It started out to be a crape myrtle, a beautiful flowering plant. The plant grew, then the moss appeared. The plant grew to tree size and so did the moss.
Crape myrtles are ornamental shrubs named because of their crinkled crepe-like flowers, usually pink, although other colors are available. They are widely grown in the southern United States. They can be trimmed or allowed to grow to tree size.
Spanish moss is a flowering perennial. The plant is native to the western hemisphere. It is rootless, living attached to trunks and branches of trees, especially live oaks. It is not a parasite. Spanish moss is used as a packing material, a black horse hair-like fiber used in upholstering furniture.
A few weeks ago Margie Love wrote an article on Spanish moss that I read with much interest, as I do all of Margie's articles. Margie and I see the moss differently.
Having been raised in Florida, we were always surrounded with moss and we kept it pulled from the trees as much as possible. You never get all of it. It will eventually take over the tree and kill it. Of course, this process takes many years but in the meantime we have plants and trees like the crape myrtle in the courthouse parking lot in the photo with not much green, just a great big blob of moss. Where is the green we hear so much about in Hinesville? Soon, it will be time for blooms. Will we see any? All it takes is for some of the moss to be removed, which is an easy task.
When I was young, we spent summers at our grandparent's farm in Welaka, Fla., where they made their living off the land, having the usual chickens, pigs, cows and raised their food. My grandpa did other things to help their living. One thing he did was gather moss from the woods and in people's yards. It grew in long gray tags, which he pulled from the trees with a long pail that had a hook on the end of it. Our job in helping was to pile the moss in the back of his pickup, which he never drove over 25 mph. When we got home we piled it up and jumped and played in it until grandma caught us and made us quit because we would get red bugs on us. Grandpa had lines similar to clotheslines and we would have to take each piece and get all the trash and little twigs out of it then hang it on the line to dry. The process took several weeks and when it was ready, it was black, coarse, and dry. Then a man would come and bake it. After it was baked and weighed, it was ready for the factory where it was used to stuff mattresses or upholster furniture and sometimes car seats.
There is a place for moss. There is a place for plants.
The green and pink of the crape myrtle would be a more beautiful picture than the gray moss we are seeing now. How long is the plant going to live?

Joyce Laseter
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