Lichen is commonly mistaken for a type of diseases or a type of parasite in a tree. However, lichen is a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and algae. The two co-exist using the tree as an anchor. Lichen can be found growing on just about anything outside. If there is enough light, nutrients, and moisture you will find lichen growing. The Algae produces the food using photosynthesis, while the Fungus provides the structure for it to live.
There are a lot of benefits of having lichens growing in your trees. One of them is indication of air quality. Lichens will not tolerate air pollution. Another reason why they are beneficial is they can take nitrogen gas from the air and “fix” it making it available to other plants.
So the next time you see it growing on a weak or dying branch don’t blame the lichen. There are other factors affecting your tree.
For more info click here
Ben Kahlmus – South MS Regional Manager
ISA Certified Arborist #SO-6866A
Mississippi Registered Forester RF#2678