How to Get Rid of Lichen on Trees

We all associate the color green with healthy growth, from lush lawns to sprawling canopies. What if you encounter this hue where it doesn’t belong, like on your tree’s trunk and branches?

Lichen is a photosynthetic living organism that loves to latch onto and grow on other plants, and while it can add an interesting element to your backyard topography, it isn’t always welcome. Keep reading and learn how to get rid of lichen on trees and minimize a reoccurrence.

What’s Lichen?

Lichen is actually a composite living thing made up of two things: algae or cyanobacteria and multiple fungi species. This mutualistic relationship between the two creates an incredibly resilient organism capable of withstanding heat, drought, and cold. It thrives in areas with ample moisture and sunshine, like rocks, cement, metal, and tree trunks.

Possible Strategies

Did you look up how to get rid of lichen on trees because you think they cause damage? Relax; lichen isn’t a parasite, and its presence won’t harm the tree. It also brings a wealth of advantages to the natural environment, acting as a food source for critters and a bird nesting spot.

If you still want to remove it for aesthetic concerns, here’s how.

Manual Removal

This is the most labor-intensive approach, but you don’t have to go out and buy special products. Using a vegetable brush, old toothbrush, or soft-bristled brush, gently scrub the lichen off the bark in circular motions.

For stubborn growths, you can scrape them away using a putty knife or a similar object. Take care not to damage the bark itself.

Home Remedies

Mix together an ounce of dish soap and some white vinegar and pour it into a spray bottle. Spritz this solution all over the growth and repeat the process every few days. This method may take some time, but eventually, most of the lichen will die off.

Store-Bought Treatments

Copper-based fungicide, also known as Bordeaux mixture or copper oxychloride, can help reduce lichen growth and prevent its reappearance. The copper ions denature the organism’s cell enzymes and proteins, killing it off in the process.

What to Do Next?

Lichen grows on trees in rapidly declining health. That’s why the best way to minimize future growth is through proper care.

Seek Expert Assistance

When dealing with widespread lichen growth, it might already be too late. Call Girard’s trusted tree removal crew and let them assess your specimen. If it’s already dead, leaving it there might create a safety hazard.

Schedule Regular Pruning

Improving air circulation and light penetration will help keep lichen away because it creates drier conditions. You can achieve both by having your trees regularly trimmed.

This practice also keeps your living landscape healthy and happy, enabling it to resist disease and insect infestation better.

Ease Up on the Mulch

Mulching aids your trees by retaining moisture, providing passive fertilization, and protecting the roots from extreme temperatures, but too much of it can spell trouble. Avoid applying it too near the trunk, as it creates a conducive environment for lichen growth.

Do You Think You Need to Remove Your Tree?

Even if you know how to get rid of lichen on trees, it doesn’t always work, or you might find yourself in a situation where the lichen is a mere symptom of an underlying problem. Common warning signs include:

  • Alarmingly rapid dieback
  • Wilting foliage
  • Off or rotten odors
  • Visible bark damage
  • Bending trunk

Avert a potential disaster and call Starwood Tree Service at (330) 231-5022. Our veteran specialists know when to remove a tree and how to do it safely and responsibly.

Call Now Button