Lichen on Mountain Laurel

Asked June 11, 2017, 11:38 PM EDT

When we bought our house in a hemlock and pine clearing in the Catskills more than 20 years ago, it came with a large native patch of mountain laurel that has steadily bloomed beautifully each summer with virtually no care. The patch of laurel is in a part shade area amidst low bush blueberry.

Last year, after a year's absence, I started to notice some of the laurel had lichen on the branches. This year, LOTS of lichen and many fewer blooms, plus some loss of leaves - some of the shrubs are just leafless. I am also noticing some new growth at the bottom of the laurel. I realize that because the laurel took such good care of itself for so long, I pretty much neglected it. Now I feel terrible about my neglect and will do anything I can to revive it. I can try to get some photographs if that would help. Thank you so much!

Ulster County New York

3 Responses

Good morning,

Please provide some photos. In general, lichen growth is not indicative of a problem with your plants, although it may indicate a lack of vigor in some cases:


A lichen is not a single organism the way most other living things are, but rather it is a combination of two organisms which live together intimately. Most of the lichen is composed of fungal filaments, but living among the filaments are algal cells, usually from a green alga or a cyanobacterium.

Introduction to Lichens - UCMP

Thank you so much for your quixk response- I will post some photos this weekend!