moss / lichen on my dogwood

Discussion in 'Garden Pest Management and Identification' started by galiano, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. galiano

    galiano Active Member

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    I have a 5 year old dogwood ( Cornus Kousa Satomi I think ) that is a lovely little tree and seems healthy enough but for one problem - it has a fair bit of moss or lichen growing on the branches. It gets full afternoon sun. Is there something I can do to make this tree look better ?
     
  2. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I'm guessing you object to the moss/lichen look? You can gently pull that off the bark if it really offends you.
     
  3. galiano

    galiano Active Member

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    Offends me ?? :-0 Well not really. But it does make the tree look a little unhealthy. I wondered if it related to the soil ph or something.

    Actually it doesn't come off that easily and it would soon be back. I'd like to know the cause.
     
  4. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    It's not actually harming your tree, you know.

    It's more the moisture in your environment and the spores of the mosses and lichens that have caused it grow on your dogwood; it really has nothing to do with the soil's conditions or whatnot, since the mosses and lichens are epiphytes.

    I suppose there are chemicals out there that you could use to kill the growths, but I wouldn't do that myself. Then again, I like the way mossy or lichenous trees look.
     
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  5. Denise

    Denise Active Member

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    I was at the garden center this weekend and a lady was asking the salesperson exactly the same question. She has moss growing on her trees as well. (for that matter, my orchard trees --very old-- are covered in moss) The salesperson suggested a liquid product (a moss killer) you could paint/spray over the moss to try get rid of it. I agree with others who have stated it doesn't harm the tree and sort of gives it some character, however, how much is too much? I feel a little bit is interesting, a green trunk may not be pleasing. Try picking it off if there is only a little bit (even though it can be tedious and difficult). Good luck. Maybe others can tell us what colour the moss changes to after it has been sprayed with killer. I have a feeling it will look really ugly-maybe black.
     
  6. darcy sreebny

    darcy sreebny Member

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    I live in Washington, D.C. and noticed that my old dogwood had lichen/moss growing on it last fall. It is still alive on my tree after a lot of freezing weather.

    This is very distressing and I want to heal it. Will it kill the tree? Can I treat it and how? Thanks!
     
  7. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    As I said above, moss and lichen don't harm trees. They're only living there because it's the most advantageous place for them to catch sunlight and rainwater. They haven't frozen because they're tough organisms and are probably hardier coldwise than your dogwoods are. In fact, they're probably providing the tree a bit of insulation just now, so I'd leave them be.

    If the look of moss/lichen distresses you, you can simply pick them off by hand. However, bear in mind that they're acting as insulation for the dogwood at the moment, so you might actually damage the tree by removing them.
     
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  8. galiano

    galiano Active Member

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    I've long since stopped being concerned about moss and lichen on my little dogwood. I knew at the outset that it wasn't harming the tree. I posted the question originally out of curiousity to see if there was an easy solution. There is no doubt that without the lichen the tree would be a lot more attractive.

    I'll try to be polite : To suggest picking the moss and lichen off the tree is simply not a viable solution. No more lectures please.
     
  9. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    That wasn't aimed at you, Galiano, and I'm sorry if you took offence. It was aimed at Darcy Sreebny, who posted worrying that the stuff was killing his/her dogwood, but who obviously hadn't read the above posts.
     
  10. darcy sreebny

    darcy sreebny Member

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    Dear Lorax, I am very grateful for your advice and appreciate your willingness to communicate your expertise. Darcy
     

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