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What Do Lichens Look Like?

tree lichen image by Jim Mills from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Lichens are formed when a fungus merges with green or blue algae. Lichens can be found on the bark of trees, leaves, rocks and soil. Lichens are sometimes confused with moss, but they are biologically different.

Identification Of Lichens

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Lichens have plant like bodies without stems, leaves or roots. Lichens can be very small or cover large areas.

Foliose Lichens

lichens 2 image by thierry planche from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Foliose lichens have a leafy appearance and can contain numerous bumps or ridges. They are loosely attached by threads that resemble roots.

Crustose Lichens

Lichen/gray background image by Bluebird from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

These lichens form a crust on the bark of trees and rocks. Crustose lichens adhere tightly, which makes it almost difficult for them to be removed.

Fruiticose Lichens

Lichen image by Casseb from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

The flashy three dimensional fruiticose lichens look more like plants than any of the other lichens. They often appear to be miniature shrubs as they are the most highly developed form of lichen.

Squamulose Lichens

lichen wall image by Anton Chernenko from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Squamulose lichens have small scale like lobes that overlap to form mats. These lichens are attached at only one end.

Rid A Tree Of Lichens

Wait until lichens are dry, and brush them off the tree bark with a stiff brush. Prune limbs heavily infested with lichens off the tree with a pair of loppers if the lichens are restricting airflow and blocking sunlight. This is best done in early spring or fall. Dispose of the removed lichens and branches immediately after removal. This helps prevent the wind from blowing the lichens back onto the tree and increasing the possibility of future growth. Wait until the tree is in its dormant stage and the weather is calm and dry. Dilute 4 teaspoons of concentrate fixed copper with 1 gallon of water, mixing thoroughly with a stir stick.

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