You might be under the impression that your landscaping trees have mold growing on them. However, what you are seeing is actually a dual-organism of both fungus and algae called tree lichens. The good news is that these lichens will not harm your tree in any way. On the other hand, they are considered quite unsightly to most, so it is common to remove the growths to make trees look more appealing.
If you feel the same way about your landscaping trees, continue reading to learn more about tree lichens, including how to safely remove this common, seasonal fungal growth from tree bark.
As mentioned, tree lichens are actually a dual-organism, containing both fungus and algae. They share a mutually-beneficial, or symbiotic, relationship since the fungal portion collects and retains moisture, which algae needs to survive, while the algae converts the sun’s energy into food for the fungus to feed on (photosynthesis).
2-Method Approach to Tree Lichen Removal
There are two methods to removing tree lichens that must be used in combination to achieve lasting results. First, you must remove the actual growths; then, you must make the proper environmental modifications to prevent it from coming back. Here is what you need and how to get started:
What You Need:
✔ Work Gloves
✔ Landscaping Trash Bags
✔ Soft Bristled Scrubbing Brush
✔ Mild Dish Soap
✔ Clean Water
✔ Plastic Bucket or Container
How to Remove Tree Fungus:
☙ Fill your bucket or container with clean, warm water mixed with a small amount of mild dish soap.
☙ Put on your work gloves, open a trash bag, and grab your soft bristled scrubbing brush.
☙ Gently scrape the tree lichens off of the bark using small, delicate strokes and light pressure. If you use too much pressure, you can damage the tree bark, which can invite pest infestations and tree diseases.
☙ As you scrape the accumulations off, gather them in a trash bag for easy disposal.
☙ Once you have the majority of the lichens scraped away, rinse your brush clean and then dip it into your soapy solution.
☙ Apply the soapy wash gently using your soft bristled brush. Do not use too much pressure. Be careful to not use too much water. You do not want to get the bark too wet. Only use enough solution to clear away the mess.
☙ Allow the tree bark to dry, and then dispose of all your garbage.
Go a Step Further
If you want to prevent tree lichens from growing back, you will need to make some environmental modifications. This means changing the landscaping conditions to be poorly suited for fungal and algae growth. Tree lichens grow best in cool, partly sunny, moist areas. So make these changes and keep your bark dry, and tree lichens should be a problem of the past.
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