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Perennials/Lichen fungus


Located in the Pacific Northwest. I have a 10 year old Diana Rose of Sharon growing as a tree in a container. For several years now the Lichen fungus has taken over. It stunts the leaves and flowers are few. I have tried to remove the lichen from the branches,just by picking but that doesn't do any good. What can I do about saving this tree?

I appreciate your suggestions.

Hello Judy,

I am sorry that you are having such difficulties.

However, the lichens are not causing the problem that you are seeing. Lichens are not disease causing organisms. They actually have a beneficial relationship with the plant on which they are growing. The appearance of the lichens is coincidental with the disease, not the cause.

While researching your issue, I found a superb explanation from 2009 written by another Expert, Jim Hyland. His explanation is thorough, and the individual he was assisting came back later stating that Jim was correct. So without further ado, I am going to link you to his answer. If this does not provide sufficient information, please let me know and I will research it.

Do feel free to write again!  


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Donna Mack


I am a Master Gardener through the University of Illinois Extension.I can answer questions about pest control, especially voles, rabbits, chipmunks and slugs, and have done so on Dave's Garden Watchdog under the name DonnaMack since 2002. I have a lot of expertise with ornamental grass, hardy roses and old garden roses, minor bulbs such as ornigothalem, chionodoxa and allium as well as most types of lilies. I am knowledgeable about organic methods and I grow perennials, annuals and vegetables from seed.


I have been gardening since 1998 and have raised roses, peonies, annuals and perennials (the latter two from seed), and numerous shrubs and trees, many of which I have planted. I am familiar with many organic techniques and use as many as I can but know the chemical solutions, which are most benign and how to use them. I LOVE gardening, and I get great satisfaction with helping others so that they reach the state of joy that gardening can bring to those inclined to it.

The American Lily Society

I have numerous entries in Garden Watchdog under the name DonnaMack. I write three to four columns a year for the Kane County Chronicle.

I successfully completed the University of Illinois Master Gardening Program in March of 2013. I did this to augment extensive self study through books (I've probably read 100) and an arts degree, which helps with aesthetics. I am purely an amateur, but one who studies, reads, and documents extensively. My gardening log began in 2000, and has hundreds of entries, so that I can use my successes and failures to assist other gardeners.

Awards and Honors
The University of Illinois created a Team with Work Award for master gardeners who work together to create what they regard as an outstanding project. I won this award as part of a group that created "The Idea Garden", which suggests plants for home growers to attempt to grow. My personal contribution was salvias - ornamental and culinary hardy and tender perennials, which I grew from seed and tended through the season.

Past/Present Clients
I am currently overseeing and performing the maintenance of two large English style gardens in a suburb of Chicago, and recently acquired the management and redesign of a large estate garden(2015.)

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