Lichens on trees in the yard

Seeing green patches on my trees, I checked with Home Depot if there was something wrong with the trees and if they were infected! I did not get a proper response. I was told to just mulch and wait for it to go away! No product, no solution to treat it, not even sure what was it. So, I let it be for a few years. Then, I found out it was Lichens growing on my trees 🙂 Now, my curiosity was triggered!

Interesting fact I learned about Lichens that made me smile 🙂 Sharing a link to the original article

The author writes “I find it absolutely fascinating that two brainless species have figured out that forming a ‘joint venture’ would increase their chances of survival. Just sit back and think about that a little….” 🙂

This is how Lichens look on trees..

Rutgers university published an article about Lichens . An excerpt from there…

“Lichens are numerous and important organisms in the natural environment that are generally beneficial in nature. The presence of lichens on healthy trees should be welcomed as likely positive indicators of lower levels of air pollution and a reasonably good quality of atmospheric conditions in the neighborhood. The homeowner with lichens residing on their damaged or diseased tree branches should concentrate upon identifying the real sources for the tree distress if any is seen. The lichens are not the cause for the condition of the stressed tree. However, lichens may co-exist on trees with other organisms that are causing disease or injury. Abundance lichen presence concentrated on damaged or dead wood may be a warning of present or impending invasive disease or decay caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses or insects and may require corrective action by homeowners or tree care professionals.

Now, how would a homeowner know what the cause of lichens and whether the tree is having a disease or is normally old and healthy? Would be great if there was a way to find it!

While looking more into it, found these helpful points to consider

  1. Prune your trees and cut off excessive branches to limit the sunlight to the lichen growth area
  2. Dispose off the lichen filled branches and dead wood in yard waste bags properly, so that they dont get blown back again onto the trees
  3. Mulch the trees well – helps water retention
  4. Change the direction of the sprinklers if they are spraying on the bark of the tree
  5. Mix a bucket of water with a mild detergent and scrub the lichen area with a sponge to dislodge the lichens
  6. Check if the tree canopy is thinning and get a yard / tree specialist to diagnose the issue and recommend a solution
  7. Fertilize the affected trees at least once a year

As spring is expected soon this year, time to start looking at the trees in your yard and their health condition!

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