Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Lichens Again, Cherry Laurel, Mushroom ID & a Pond Weed

813_fig_1_lichens_pubjpgAn official AgCenter publication about lichens. Photo: LSU AgCenter.

Lichens Again

Tom sent an email with this request, “Could you send me pictures and info on lichens? [I have] a lady that wants to hear it from a higher authority.”

The short answer to Tom’s request is “yes”. The AgCenter has a downloadable publication entitled simply, “Lichens” by Dr. Raj Singh, the AgCenter’s “Plant Doctor”.

Homeowners are often concerned when they see lichens. However, Dr. Singh wrote this line in the “Lichens” publications, “So the question is: Are lichens plant pathogens? And the answer is: No! Lichens are not plant pathogens. They use a tree or another surface as a substrate to grow epiphytically [and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain…]. Lichens are not parasites and do not derive any nutrients from the host they are growing on. Lichens may grow on healthy as well as stressed trees. They are more noticeable on stressed trees because of the open or thinner canopy.”

If your tree’s canopy is thin and if you can see the lichens easily, then your tree is having other issues, perhaps related to fertilization, drought, root damage, etc.

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Leaves of a cherry laurel.
Image: Susan Ham.

Cherry Laurel

Susan sent some pictures and a couple of emails asking for identification of a woody plant, “Can you help ID this please?” She shared this observation,” The leaf has tiny serrations. It is a weed in my yard. It must be a popular plant from years gone by. My neighbor brought this in [and] he wants a hedge of it.”

The leaves in the image are from a cherry laurel, a native small tree. If you are looking for a small tree, 10 to 25 feet tall, then consider the cherry laurel. A search of the website of the LSU AgCenter reveals that the cherry laurel is suitable for creating holiday garland and for privacy screening.

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Polypore mushrooms.
Photo: Jennie Merrill.

Mushroom ID

Jennie sent a detailed email and some images to ask for an ID, “I’m new to mushroom identification and found these [mushrooms] on our walk…. They were by the bayou and I am not sure what kind of tree that is. I think they would fall under the category of polypores and have tried looking it up in my book, Mushrooms of the Southeast, and a mushroom identification app but … I am coming up short. Any chance you can help? I came across your info online through the LSU Ag Center. Let me know what other information might be helpful in identification or if you have a local resource, I might tap into…!

Again, AHA consulted with Mr. David Lewis of the Gulf States Mycological Society (GSMS), and Mr. Lewis assisted with the identification, “This is a species of polypore (fungi with hard tissue and usually fruit on wood) in the genus Ganoderma. We have several species along the Gulf Coast, and I am unsure which one this is. [I] hope this helps.”

Jennie was pleased with this reply and decided to look into the website of the GSMS, http://www.gsmyco.org/ , to have more assistance with her journey into the world of mushrooms.

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Maidencane, a pond weed.
Photo: T. Fain.

Pond Weed

Mr. Fain is looking for a solution to a pond weed, “I have contacted you before about problems with my pond, [and] I have a weed growing on my pond bank that is very invasive. Can you please tell me what chemical to use to eradicate it? How should I apply it what precautions should I use when spraying it? It appears to be rooted in the bank, not in the water although it does grow out into the water. All help will be greatly appreciated.”

AHA consulted with Mr. Kevin Savioe, a fisheries agent with the AgCenter, and he made this comment for control, “This is maidencane, Panicum hemitomon. The recommendation for control is glyphosate. If spot spraying use 1 - 2 oz. per gallon, plus ½ oz. per gallon nonionic surfactant. This plant like many aquatic plants is difficult to control in standing water. Repeat applications may be required.”

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or khawkins@agcenter.lsu.edu. Also, you can be on the “green thumbs” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

8/19/2020 9:04:20 PM
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