Lichen grow on many kinds of surfaces including trees, soil and rocks. Widespread throughout the UK, it can be found on the twigs and trunks of trees with an acidic bark, such as birch. The only point that might be a concern is if you have a pet that is likely to climb the tree and nibble it or a young child that might reach into the tree and pull the lichens off to eat. A season or more of severe drought, for instance, can slow a tree’s development allowing more time for lichens to form and populate. A lot of fruit trees and trees that have been around about 10 years or more might get lichen on the tree. Thank you for your question about the moss and lichen on your tree's stems. It is important to differentiate between lichens … Lichen is a unique organism because it’s actually a … Lichens grow on the surface of your tree, and do not penetrate any tissue. Instead, they make use of the trunk or branches for support. Good news: lichen are known to grow in relatively clean air environments and are a sign of low pollution levels. Actually, they are not harmful to the tree unless they retain so much water, either rain or ice, that their weight may become an issue. It’s this crusty, green moss the tends to grow on the bark of trees at least 5 to 10 years old or older. For good reasons this species is also known as 'old man’s beard'. The converse, the absence of lichens means bad air quality, doesn’t hold true. If this is the case, you would have to be concerned about the safety of the tree itself as well as the lichens on it. They do not cause plant diseases either, with one exception: in certain wet, tropical areas, lichens have grown in such thick layers over trees … It’s a bushy lichen which can be yellow-green or grey-green with a black base. But the reality is, lichen is an opportunistic organism just looking for a surface to grow on, and unhealthy trees happen to be a good option. An increased amount of lichen on plants could indicate poor plant health because healthy, fast growing trees and shrubs are always shedding bark, making it difficult for lichen to attach. Rather, on a health perspective, the presence of lichens indicates good air quality (because lichens can’t grow under air pollution). A moss is a plant; a lichen is a symbiotic combination of an alga and a fungus. Sometimes it appears that lichen is hurting your tree because it grows at the same time your tree is declining. The kinds that land on trees have found a stable surface that has sufficient sunlight, moisture, and minerals to sustain them.
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