What is growing on my trees?

rush_0(USDA 7)July 21, 2013

Two of my Bradford Pear trees are doing very bad this year. Both have this stuff growing on them but the others that seem to be healthy do not have this stuff on them.

Could this be what is killing them and what is it?

Thanks in advance for your responses and help.

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esh_ga

This is a type of lichen. It is not killing the trees but rather is another symptom that they are doing poorly. As you saw with others, healthy trees don't have this.

The poor health of the tree allows lichens to grow more thickly than if the tree were healthy.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 10:06PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Huh. Usually around here Bradfords grow well then blow apart after a decade or so.

Rush O, anything different near the two sickly trees?

Have ya been fighting sucker growth with roundup or anything?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:09PM
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joeinmo 6b-7a

Actually this is Usnea, it only grows in very clean pure environments, not harmful at all. Very rare to see that big.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 2:01AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

ok.. never seen this stuff in my life ...

but is the branch under it.. previously scarred???

looks like a big gaping NON-healing wound on the left ... of which i dont believe stuff was the cause ....

ken

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 9:15AM
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honymand

Agree with joeinmo. Not harmfull at all; on the contratry it is indicative of a clean and healthy environment. This does not neccesarily mean that the tree is all well, but neither does it mean that the tree is doing bad. It is indicative of the nvironment itself and says nothing of the tree - neither does it harm the tree.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 2:21AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Hony, the fact is that a bureoning crop of lichen on a tree SHOULD be a yellow flag to the owner of that tree. Lichen cannot easily thrive on a tree loaded with a full complement of leaves. Thus, lichen says a great deal about the tree.

Yes, we all understand that the lichen is not the cause of the problem in and of itself......but it should be considered a signal nonetheless. The direct causal agents of the plant's decline should be determined by a professional.

Esh is exactly right.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2013 at 4:39AM
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Liz321(6 - Detroit Metro)

Ken - It is very very sensitive to air pollution and prefers wetland areas with undisturbed old growth trees that have largely been cut down in the mitten.
You haven't seen it because we killed it off around here ;0). It has been found in the western UP and on Isle Royale. There is more information here at this link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Usnea in Mi

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 4:25PM
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joeinmo 6b-7a

Ken,
just because lichen grows on a tree does Not mean the tree is unhealthy.

More than likely the tree was damaged on these branches and the lichen was dispersed through the wind and was caught by the sap or rough area. In general Usnea like Evergreen type trees, pine, Ashe juniper etc.

The Usnea is not feeding off your tree, kinda cool to have a rare plant like that in your back yard.

When you say your trees are not doing good, in what way, what are the symptoms?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 9:41PM
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rush_0(USDA 7)

Thanks everyone. I do appreciate all of the input.

I have no idea as to why the trees started doing bad. It started with one last year. It just didn't seem to have as many leaves and just looked poor. This year another seems to be having the same problem. I have 3 more and they are full and beautiful. Perhaps a pic of the entire trees may help ??? I'll take another and post tomorrow.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 11:19PM
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rush_0(USDA 7)

Here is a pic of the two sickly trees and one of the healthy ones beside them. As you can see, the one in the middle looks nice and healthy on Only One Side . Perhaps it would be best if we cut them down so as not to infect the others.. :-(

    Bookmark   July 28, 2013 at 7:03PM
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joeinmo 6b-7a

Your Bradford Pear probably has fire blight

Here is a link that might be useful: click for more info here

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 6:30PM
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rush_0(USDA 7)

Thanks for the link, joeinmo. Guess we should just cut them down then.. :-(

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 9:00PM
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poaky1

Half-joking. Could this be the northern version of Spanish moss?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 2:45AM
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