Apple tree question

Ive noticed this moss? growing on my espalier Apple tree, what would you guys recommend for cleaning/kill. Also, on the top cordon, there are 2 upright knobs left by the pruning at the nursery. The are some fruit spurs on them, but would you prune them down to the main branch, or just leave them. Thanks `

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Lichen? I tend to leave everything alone, or just rub with water if I really don’t like the look. I figure it will come back anyway, best not to damage tree, if it isn’t disease.

Assuming the height of espalier is about as high as you want to gather fruit, prune primarily to direct future growth that allows the maximum amount of sunlight onto each branch. Thin only if growth is shading other lower limbs.

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Iron sulphate is used to get rid of lichens and mosses, which often occur in old trees. Spray with 3% solution in early spring or autumn, when the leaves have fallen. Two treatments (two weeks later) are enough. Then the mosses and lichens fall off the bark on their own.


Ok guys, these are helpful suggestions.

I don’t find lichen unattractive and have never had a customer who wanted it removed, so I may be in a majority- Iron sulphate will acidify your soil somewhat.

Lichen tells the story that your trees are growing rather slowly, which would likely be what you want from an espalier.

Another one of those “reading the signs” to tell direction… below per google.

In the northern hemisphere, lichen grows primarily on the north side of the tree , but not completely. Because direct sunlight does not hit the north side of the tree, the bark rarely dries out. This creates an environment where lichen can thrive.

Is yours mostly on the North Side ?

My 20 year old apple tree has plenty of that… I never thought to worry about it. Every tree in the yard and most in the woods have it too.


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Ok @TNHunter, good to know about the north side. I just purchased these, so that’s probably true from the nursery they were grown in.

I do believe lichen take some of the vigor from apple trees.

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