Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

Lichen on Fruit Trees

...
lichen image by Vasiliy Koval from Fotolia.com

Lichens are not harmful to fruit trees. They are a tiny plant form that use trees as support. They are not parasitic but are often mistaken for harmful fungi or diseases. Lichens thrive in moist environments. Some fruit trees also like moist environments, such as many apple varieties. There are thousands of kinds of lichens in colors from gray to green to a white fuzzy variety.

Identify Lichens

...
growing lichen image by Przemyslaw Jankowski from Fotolia.com

Lichens sometimes looks like moss or gray “stuff” growing on the tree. Other forms look like stringy white fuzz on the tree. There are more than a thousand varieties of lichens. Lichens are actually two life forms that cooperate together as one; fungi and green algae. Their many forms include powdery, crusty, scaly, leaf-like lobes, stems or hairy-branched filaments.

  • Lichens are not harmful to fruit trees.
  • Lichens are actually two life forms that cooperate together as one; fungi and green algae.

Benefits

...
arbre 2 image by thierry planche from Fotolia.com

Many birds and animals use lichens as nesting material. Reindeer, lemmings and other cold-weather creatures eat lichens. Some insects use lichens as camouflage from predators. It is used to make litmus paper and some dyes. Iceland Moss, a lichen, is ground and made into bread. Lichens in soil make it a good environment for other plants to take hold.

Where Lichens Grow

...
Moss, lichen and iron stains on white granite image by Freshwater Seas from Fotolia.com

Lichens grow on many surfaces; walls, rocks, buildings, tree trunks and limbs. They also grow on the ground and assist in soil production. They grow in places that other plants cannot grow due to limited space or nutrients. They do well in very harsh environments and love moisture. Lichens grow well on older fruit trees.

  • Many birds and animals use lichens as nesting material.
  • Lichens grow well on older fruit trees.

Growth Habits

...
frost and lichen image by hazel proudlove from Fotolia.com

These tiny plants capture nutrients from the air, dust, water and some from the substrate on which they grow. They also feed on bird droppings and insect dung. Lichens grow on just about every surface and use whatever is around them for food. They are extremely adaptable. They grow very slowly when young but increase their rate of growth once they are established.

Prevent Growth

...
lichen on the rock image by UBE from Fotolia.com

Lichens will not harm fruit trees, but gardeners might not like the way it looks. Lichens like shade, so pruning a fruit tree’s canopy to let in more sunlight is an effective way to deter their growth. Improve the air circulation around the tree trunk by removing any surrounding vegetation. Keep the area clean of debris and plant material.

  • These tiny plants capture nutrients from the air, dust, water and some from the substrate on which they grow.
  • Lichens like shade, so pruning a fruit tree’s canopy to let in more sunlight is an effective way to deter their growth.

Related Articles

What Do Lichens Look Like?
What Do Lichens Look Like?
Facts About Rainforest Floor Plants
Facts About Rainforest Floor Plants
Symbiotic Relationship of the Orchid & Tree
Symbiotic Relationship of the Orchid & Tree
Types of Non Flowering Plants
Types of Non Flowering Plants
What Are Some Plants That Make Spores Instead of Seeds?
What Are Some Plants That Make Spores Instead of Seeds?
List of Marine Water Plants
List of Marine Water Plants
Why Would I Have Green Moss Growing on My Roof?
Why Would I Have Green Moss Growing on My Roof?
Characteristics of Green Algae & Plants
Characteristics of Green Algae & Plants
Symbiotic Relationship Between an Orchid & a Tree
Symbiotic Relationship Between an Orchid & a Tree
Insects That Eat Algae
Insects That Eat Algae
Is a Venus Flytrap an Autotroph or Heterotroph?
Is a Venus Flytrap an Autotroph or Heterotroph?
Can Gatorade Make Plants Grow Faster?
Can Gatorade Make Plants Grow Faster?
How to Care for Reindeer Moss
How to Care for Reindeer Moss
What Types of Soil Do Tropical Rain Forests Have?
What Types of Soil Do Tropical Rain Forests Have?
What Adaptations Allow Seed Plants to Reproduce Without Standing Water?
What Adaptations Allow Seed Plants to Reproduce Without...
What Do You Call Plants That Can't Make Their Own Food?
What Do You Call Plants That Can't Make Their Own Food?
What Side of the Tree Does Moss Grow On?
What Side of the Tree Does Moss Grow On?
Facts About White Oak Trees
Facts About White Oak Trees
Garden Guides
×