We just moved in to this new house and the backyard has four fruit trees (pears, apple), but the trees are covered in some kind of moss--dark green-looking, flaky stuff (similar to dandruff). There's hardly any leaves and I removed some of them by water spraying and manually taking them off the trees, but there just so many. What is it and what can I do to remove them? Are they harmful to the trees? I assume they are since the trees do not have any leaves. We are in the Tacoma, Washington area.
Fruit Trees Have Some Kind of Moss
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
The moss like substance is most likely lichen. It is probably not what is causing the trees to fail, but is rather a symptom that the tree is ill as they do like to attach to trees that are unhealthy. Besides lost leaves, do the trees have any other signs of being ill so that we can try to identify it for you?
This article will explain more about lichen: