1. Ask the Expert: Fertilization Strategies for Success: Dec. 12, 2017
    Learn how to do more with less when it comes to your fertilization services. Join the live Ask the Expert event hosted by Koch Turf & Ornamental: Dec. 12, 12-2 p.m. ET in the Fertilizer Application forum .

lichen or moss on trees

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by billybob358, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. billybob358

    billybob358 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    I have a customer who has lichen or moss on his deciduaous trees. Is there anything that can remove this and will it just grow back. What is the cause?

    I live in the Toronto area and I do lawns and not trees but I want to help solve this delema myself.

  2. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    Moss grows on the bark of trees as a matter of course, everywhere... Never heard of it being a problem for anyone, but the more shade, and less air movement there is, the less it is so pronounced...

    I don't know it we have any deciduous trees w/out moss on them... Does your client see it as a problem?
  3. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    I have heard of companies in British Columbia, around Vancouver claiming to use a spray of lime-sulphur to control moss and lichen on trees in the winter. It needs to soak in and kill it first. I would suggest performing this during a dry period. You have to return and kind of scrub it off also. Don't use a wire brush or any-thing that will mark the bark. Perhaps, use a hard broom and do wear your eye protection.
    Lime-sulphur can only be used in the winter, before the buds come out. Read the label
    before you use it. You cannot spray it on every-thing in the landscape. It would be too late to safely use it now.(March 13/ll) You may also require an applicators license.
    As an Arborist/ Journeyman horticulturist, I can assure your customer that the moss and lichen will not harm the trees. If you use only a broom right now, the moss may come off easily. The lichen will be a picky thing to remove.
    Some people pay big bucks for Japanese Moss Gardens, maybe you can find a new niche market.
  4. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    A power washer should remove a lot of it pretty quickly. That is how I remove it from brick patios. I cannot imagine wasting any effort to remove moss from trees.

    As to the cause, it is just a situational condition. When the conditions are right for a particular type of moss it grows. I think it procreates through air borne spores. Removing lower branches or thinning the trees will change the conditions in favor of less moss. But not necessarily true as some mosses do well in sunny conditions.

    I like to see moss but some types are less attractive than others. I have been told that moss thrives when butter milk is applied.

    If you have a photo we could maybe identify it and maybe see why it is unwanted.
  5. dandd75

    dandd75 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    Linchens do not harm the tree, as has been written. But they do indicate that the tree may, for whatever reason, be slowing down in vigor. So have the trees looked by an arborist if you are unsure as to why there health is in decline.
    But if they are on a not living surface(i.e. stone, or wood) here is a link to the British Linchen Society about removing.
  6. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    The bark that the moss grows on IS non-living material... Moss is not parasitic...
  7. dandd75

    dandd75 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 45

    I know the bark is non living, but also know some people who have tried to chip moss or linchens away and cause damage to the trees, so my feeling is if on the tree and causing no harm let be.
  8. Smallaxe

    Smallaxe LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,082

    I agree, Why would anyone 'chip' away at lichens/moss on a tree?
  9. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    Maybe they just had some extra time on their hands after dusting off the leaves and branches.;)

Share This Page