Blueberries and Lichen

Asked May 11, 2020, 3:46 PM EDT

I have four blueberry plants (three varieties). They are located in an area that receives sun approximately 3/4 of the day. Soil pH is ~5.5. I do not irrigate. I noticed last fall that the plants seem to be developing lichen (well, that is what it looks like to me) across the plants, see two attached pics. It may have always been there and I just never noticed until the coverage became extensive. I had several limbs die off through the winter; more than normal I would say. I was curious if the lichen was the cause for the excessive die off or perhaps another culprit. Is the lichen harming these plants? Do I need to treat in some fashion? Thank you, Bill

Cecil County Maryland

1 Response

Hi- lichen are not harming your plant directly and you don't need to scrape them off or try to prevent/control them. Lichen are common on many different kinds of trees and shrubs.
https://extension.umd.edu/learn/did-you-hear-story-fungus-meeting-algae-and-they-took-%E2%80%9Clichen%E2%80%9D-each-other
https://extension.umd.edu/learn/i%E2%80%99m-lichen-it-peak-season-lichen-peeping
To improve blueberry production we suggest that you water your plants during prolonged dry periods, especially in early fall when the plants are laying down buds for next year's leaves and flowers. Also, any thick stems with exfoliating bark, that are producing few fruit buds, should be pruned out at ground level to encourage new shoots to develop. Please read more about renewal pruning:
https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/pruning-blueberries
Jon