Fungus or lichen? Deadly photos included!

Laserboy532(7b/8a Sandy East NC)March 28, 2012

Here are some snaps of a lichen or fungus that is running rampant around my yard, predominantly on the dogwoods and azaleas... anyone know what it is and how to control it? I've already had to take down a crowded dogwood because it was too far gone.

Seems to attack and thrive more on crowded specimens...



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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Lichens, and they aren't causing damage to your dogwoods or azaleas, something else is. When branch and stem decline occurs due to other factors, lichen growth sometimes proliferates, making a gardener think its the lichen killing their shrub/tree because that's what is most evident to them. The lichens did not cause the branch decline, but rather, one of the effects of the plant decline was an increase in lichen growth.

So what else might be going on...drought, poor drainage, improper planting? Is that sod/lawn growing right up against the crown of the dogwood?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 9:22PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Cool lichen!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 9:47PM
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Laserboy532(7b/8a Sandy East NC)

Thanks! The plant in the picture is a very small one, probably planted where it shouldn't have been, and was removed after the photo was taken.

I am new to the property (moved here last Aug.) Most of the other dogwoods - 7 full sized trees, and many of the azaleas - a dozen or so, are showing these signs to a much lesser degree.

I think the grass is centipede - its one of those very stout, creeping grasses that excels in our sandy soil - though I know its not Zoysia. It does grow right up to the trunk of all the dogwoods, but not many of the azaleas which are just beyond the woodline and in 'natural areas'.

I can't see any difference in the amount of damage/lichen between the plants in the grass and those in the woods.

The affected plants are spread out all over the 2+ acre yard - some in full sun, some in partial shade, and across varying moisture conditions. Here in Eastern NC, we did have a hot dry summer last year, and I doubt that any attention was given to these before August.

Drainage here is excellent, and doesn't seem to have a bearing on which plants are being affected.

I'm not sure about the planting because they've been here at least 10 yrs or more, judging from the rest of the landscaping, probably about 20-25yrs.

Thanks again for the input and any ideas!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 9:55PM
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Laserboy532(7b/8a Sandy East NC)

rhizo - Yeah, they are really cool! Even more so when you can take a nice sharp macro of them =)

I really don't mind them at all, I just don't want to take the dogwoods down!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 10:00PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Lack of summer/fall water then is the first place I'd consider. If you could clear back the sod and not have lawn right up to the stems it could help, and you'll be a lot less likely to cause further injury with lawnmower or weedeater too :)

Azaleas in particular have a very fine network of surface roots that will extend out as far as the widest branches just under the soil surface (almost like a big pancake)....responsible for taking up the bulk of the water and nutrients. Competition from grass or groundcovers over those roots will always have a negative impact....

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 11:01AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

you should start.. by killing the grass in a circle around the plant... which will keep the weedwhip away ... and i bet you find damage from such ...

adding .. a nice layer of mulch ... which will hold moisture.. and cool the soil ...

and by fall.. make some decisions on proper pruning ... and we could help with that ..

they have been very neglected.. so start with some TLC ...

and no.. i would not fertilize ... w/o a soil test first..


    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 1:26PM
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Laserboy532(7b/8a Sandy East NC)

Great! Thanks for the direction all!

Should i spray the grass at the base of the dogwoods or pull it all up before mulching? And is a 3 foot diameter ok for the mulching?

I have not weed-whacked the trunks of the dogwoods, and I haven't done anything around the base of the azaleas in the woods...

Does this change anything?

Let me post a few more pics of the remaining trees so you guys can get a better idea of what I'm dealing with...

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 5:38PM
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