How to get rid of moss and lichens on trees: tips for summer residents

Yulia PoteriankoLife
Moss and lichen must be removed in a timely and proper manner

Formally, mosses and lichens that grow on tree trunks are not considered pests, but experienced gardeners say that they should be removed just as carefully. Yes, they do not cause much harm, but they do not bring any benefit either.

OBOZ.UA found out why moss and lichens can be dangerous. And also how best to remove them so as not to harm the plant.

Why moss and lichen on the trunk are dangerous

Due to their structure and way of life, these organisms do not directly harm the tree. They do not take away nutrients, because they feed themselves through photosynthesis. They do not destroy the structure of the wood with their roots, because they do not have a root system as such. Mosses and lichens get the necessary substances and moisture from the air.

But at the same time, they cover the tree trunk and prevent it from effectively recovering from unfavorable periods - they block light and air. Moss and lichen are also a breeding ground for really dangerous bacteria and insect pests. That's why they need to be removed. Here's how to do it.

Mechanical cleaning

Since these organisms have no roots, they can be mechanically scraped off the trunk. Use a nylon brush, a scraper, or simply a metal plate. Do not scrub too hard, so as not to remove the bark and give access to the wood for dangerous microorganisms. And after removing the moss, treat the cleaned area with a 5% solution of iron sulfate.

Mechanical cleaning of trees should be carried out only when the flow of sap in them stops. The cleaned fragments should be collected, dried and burned.

Acid treatment

Oxalic acid is effective against moss and lichens. It is diluted in water in the proportion of 1 part acid to 8 parts water and sprayed with this mixture on mossy areas. Soon it will die off and begin to fall off. But such spraying should not be done frequently. Acid can be dangerous for the tree itself.


Applying a whitewash mixture to the trunk and main branches of the tree helps protect it from the development of mosses and lichens and destroy those that have already appeared. This treatment is carried out in late fall or in the second half of winter. Choose a sunny and dry day. Before whitewashing, all damage to the trunk should be treated with garden varnish to protect it.

To prepare a tree whitewash, take 3 kg of slaked lime and 150 grams of copper sulfate and dilute them in 10 liters of water. The mixture should be used within 4-5 hours. After that, it loses its properties. Also, do not apply it to young fruit trees with smooth bark.

Prune severely damaged areas

If moss or lichen has caused the death of a part of the tree, this part should be cut off. This procedure should be included in the annual sanitary pruning of the garden. It is carried out according to the tree species - different species need it in different seasons.

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