Fall is a great time to build a terrarium, to capture a bit of greenery in a bottle before things turn cold outside. My question for today comes from reader Kate:
Question: I bought some moss online. It's very healthy - I've just got it in a cookie sheet with some soil and pebbles, the whole affair sitting in a Ziploc bag that I can keep closed for humidity and then open it for awhile every day to get air. Now that I'm about to use it for a terrarium though, I see it has loads of (what look like) small brown decayed needles, and some tiny twigs. If I try to clean all that stuff out, I'm afraid that the entire sheet of moss will come apart (which I don't want to happen.) I'm thinking that all this detritus is decayed matter that's feeding the moss and keeping it healthy. Besides which, I'd never be able to pick it all out. So what do you think? Ok to just leave everything as is?
Answer: Your moss sounds healthy and well cared for! Storing it under plastic is a great method for quarantining your moss, to observe for insects or signs of mold. If the twigs and needles are in the dirt under the moss, wrapped up in the roots etc, it is probably fine to leave it there. It does sound like it is just part of the soil for your moss, and minimizing disruption of the moss while planting it in your terrarium will help it establish. Perhaps remove the larger pieces of twigs or pine needles if you do tear your moss into smaller pieces to place it in your terrarium.
Do you have a suggestion for dealing with twigs or pine needles in moss? Let's hear it in the comments?