Need Help for Sickly Japanese Maple has lichen??

Discussion in 'Maples' started by luckyduck, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. luckyduck

    luckyduck Member

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    Sickly Japanese Maple has lichen??

    Here are the photos of the moldy mossy poor Japanese Maple in front of my
    son's house in Michigan, USA. What ever can be done to get rid of this crud before
    it kills the beautiful tree? He would spray something on if we had a
    clue. I have no idea. Friend who is a master gardener says she thinks this is tree lichen.
    Is it a sign the tree is sick or dying?
    Is it harmful as well as ugly?
    How do you get rid of it?
     

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    Last edited: Jul 19, 2006
  2. ashizuru

    ashizuru Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi, can you put up a picture of it, then we can give an opinion.

    Ashizuru.
     
  3. luckyduck

    luckyduck Member

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    Here you go... really ugly. Makes you want to blast it with Clorox bleach, but I would not wish to kill the tree. How do you get rid of this? Why is it there? Ugh.
     

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  4. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I must confess I have never seen anything like that before. I take it you live in a hot humid climate?
    Would that not wash off with a light pressure hose (carefully) and a mild antiseptic? Mind you ... I am NOT recommending that ... just wondering!
     
  5. emery

    emery Renowned Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    Photo is very blurry, but it looks like garden variety lichen to me. The tree seems healthy, I don't think lichen does any harm, no?

    If it bothers you asthetically you can wash it off in winter, when the tree is dormant, with a moss/lichen killer. I guess that's oil based, but I've never used it personally.

    Nice tree.

    -E
     
  6. ashizuru

    ashizuru Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi, Lichens only grow in very clean air as a rule,do you live near the ocean? I have never heard of them damaging trees, we live 12 miles from the coast, and quite a few of our trees do have lichen on them, and they are perfectly happy, as your tree appears to be, like Emery says, if it bothers you wash it off when the tree is dormant with a proprietary moss/lichen remover, but I would advise to read the instructions before attempting it, as you do not want to damage that lovely tree,

    Ashizuru..
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2006
  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I was under the impression that lichen growing on bark means that the lichen growth rate exceeds the rate of the bark naturally sloughing off. In areas like the Pacific Northwest, it is common to have lichens like this on certain plants because the rate of growth of the lichen is high (though the Japanese maples at UBC BG do not have significant lichens on them). For Michigan, though, I have to wonder if the growth rate of the maple is being impeded for some reason, as lichens shouldn't be able to exceed the rate of bark sloughing off there.
     
  8. ashizuru

    ashizuru Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi, maybe it would be wise to call in a local arboriculturist, to give you a professional opinion, I would certainly be interested to see his coments.

    Ashizuru...
     
  9. Rima

    Rima Active Member

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    Lichen will not harm the tree, but then what yours has does not necessarily look like lichen to me - it's usually pretty thick and crusty, and yours looks flat and smooth.
     
  10. luckyduck

    luckyduck Member

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    Sickly Japanese Maple has lichen??

    Conditions in Livonia, ----Michigan, USA----
    We do not live near the ocean and are about 20 miles from the Great Lakes of Michigan. It has not been excessively rainy or wet, though the tree offers much shade and there is a very large red maple in the back yard and another large tree in the front of the home. Therefore the front yard gets some good shade . Michigan summers are very hot [ave. 80+ degrees] and winters very cold [ ave. 32 degrees} with plenty of snow. The tree has been getting increasingly full of this green stuff for the past 4 years since my son bought this home.
     
  11. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I have to have some sense of agreement with Rima
    I have an AsahiZuru which started to show traces of a green deposit on the bark
    I simply washed it off very early in its existance
    It hasn't re appeared :)
    I would suggest that you don't allow this deposit to continue to dominate the tree, no matter what it is
    Your tree is undoubtedly better off without it :)
     
  12. luckyduck

    luckyduck Member

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    What do you wash it off with?

    What will remove this lichen or mossy growth? Should you use a power washer with just water or a chemical? Someone said use an antiseptic and others a moss or lichen remover. Where does one find this type of compound?
     
  13. Layne Uyeno

    Layne Uyeno Active Member 10 Years

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    Hi,

    Your tree does appear to have lichen and moss. At least that's what the dark circular gray patch looks like, but the photo is blurry. Lichen are slow growing. It takes a loooong time for them to gain any size or spread. Back home we have rocks in the Japanese garden outside the kitchen that has lichen on it. Lichen/moss like shade, hence they typically grow on the north facing side of tree bark where it gets the least sun.

    Moss and/or lichen do not harm trees. I supppose it's a personal thing but I think the lichen/moss on your tree it rather attractive. It gives the tree character and a sense of age. Tell me: does your tree's bark get hit by a sprinkler system? Limiting the amount of water hitting the trunk should limit the growth of the moss/lichen.

    If you really want to get rid of the moss you could try one of these solutions:

    http://www.idealhomeproducts.com/

    This one's in Britain though...but they may ship to the States.

    http://www.organiccatalog.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=213_220&products_id=2216

    http://www.clevermag.com/investigations/moss.htm

    Do a limited test spray on a small area of the trunk to see if it works and if there are any adverse effects. But again, the moss/lichen shouldn't cause harm to the tree and limiting water spray on the tree should control it...and it gives the tree character.

    Layne
     
  14. graftedmaplecollector

    graftedmaplecollector Active Member 10 Years

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  15. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I would be inclined to just try a small area with a soft brush or cloth and slightly soapy water to see if it helped. I am always wary of today's chemicals
     
  16. graftedmaplecollector

    graftedmaplecollector Active Member 10 Years

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    Copper sulfate has been used for many years. Most nurseries use it on trees quite liberally.
     

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