|Lichen on plum branch|
As the leaves fall from trees and shrubs you may notice the stems of some of your plants covered with a grayish green crusty or mossy looking growth known as lichen (pronounced “liken”). Lichens will grow on anything that sits still long enough, including slow growing plants, tree trunks, rocks, fence posts, fallen logs, tombstones, and even the ground.
When lichens are found growing on trees or shrubs, it may simply be a sign that a plant is naturally slow growing, such as Japanese maple, or that it is an older plant that is not growing at a vigorous rate. Lichens do not harm the plants they grow upon, but often plants that are struggling will be covered in them. When lichens are found growing prolifically on a plant that also has lots of dead twigs and branches it is usually a sign that something more serious is wrong.
To learn more about lichen and the problems they are often associated with, read the rest of the article on the Pender Extension website, http://pender.ces.ncsu.edu/index.php?page=news&ci=LAWN+163.
If you have questions about what is wrong with plants in your lawn, garden or landscape contact your local Cooperative Extension office. In Pender County, call 259-1235, bring samples to our office at 801 S. Walker St. in Burgaw (Mon –Fri, 8am – 5pm) or visit us online anytime or visit us online anytime at http://pender.ces.ncsu.edu/index.php?page=askanexpert, where you can post your questions to be answered by email using the ‘Ask an Expert’ widget!
Learn more about lichens on trees and shrubs from this Alabama Extension fact sheet: http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-0857/ANR-0857.pdf