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How to get rid of mosses and lichens: tips to eliminate black crusts and encrustations on external walls and artefacts left to the elements.
Mold, moss and lichens can be a real hell for those who, even for a short time, have neglected the garden. If your house wall has mold problems, we invite you to read our guide onhow to get rid of mold from the exterior walls of the house. On this page we will focus on the formation of green biological patinas and on all the residues left by mosses and lichens.
Balconies, walls, terraces… any part of the house that is not protected from atmospheric agents can become the perfect place for the proliferation of mosses and lichens.
Therebiological patinais an aggregate of substances of vegetable origin secreted bymosses and lichens. That of mosses and that of lichens are families that have very different characteristics.
Mosses thrive in the presence of high humidity, they can become black in the absence of photosynthesis (when there is not much light). When the root system penetrates deeply, they can cause cracks in the walls and chemical degradation caused by substances secreted by the roots.
Lichens, on the other hand, are symbiotic organisms resulting from the union of a fungus and an alga. Lichens can proliferate even in the total absence of light because the two cooperating organisms support each other: the alga provides nourishment to the fungus and the fungus allows the alga to thrive even without light (in the absence of chlorophyll photosynthesis).
Lichens look very different from mosses. Lichens can have a lamellar, crusty or plaque appearance. The color varies according to the species.
Therebiological patinait is not very harmful in itself but constitutes a strong problem of an aesthetic nature.
Thereblack crustit is not the work of mosses and lichens. This substance is formed due to the pollution present in the atmosphere and acid rain. Sulfur dioxide, carbonaceous material and other pollutants are stratified on the face of the external walls and on our artefacts left to the elements (statues, columns, arcades ...). This layering gives rise to a compact, dark film described as oneblack crust.
This type of encrustation is very harmful for the masonry, for the statues and for any artifact. The crust has a dermal dilation different from the underlying masonry and therefore creates cracks. Acid rain and the chemical action of the same pollutants further degrade our assets, causing damage that is difficult to repair.
How to get rid of mosses and lichens:remove the biological patina
To remove organic residues of moss and lichen or to clean encrustations, wear a mask, a pair of gloves and protective goggles.
This cleaning should be done in spring, summer or early autumn, when temperatures do not drop below 15 - 20 ° C. The water used will have to evaporate soon, in winter it could accumulate and worsen the situation.
Get a spray bottle and a broom brush. Brush all surfaces from the bottom. This operation is very simple but also effective: it allows to eliminate the biological patina, mosses and lichens without damaging the masonry.
If you prefer, you can add specific biocide treatments to the water (preferably hot) based on the type of biological patina to be removed.
Eliminate the black crusts
Black encrustations on garden statues and walls are more difficult to remove. Try cellulose wraps, an accessible DIY procedure.
Dilute the cellulose in a little water until it is workable. Apply the cellulose on the black patina to be removed, make it adhere thanks to gauze sheets and place some cotton wool (wadding) on top to fix the pack.
Cover with nylon sheets to prevent the water in the cellulose from evaporating. Let the pack act for 2 or 3 days and then washed with deionized water and brush with a soft bristle brush.
Use chemicals and solvents only in extreme cases because unfortunately they are not always able to preserve the artifact.
THE mosses and lichens in the garden did they also attack the vegetation? Here is an article that will explain how to control moss and lichen on tree trunks.
Photo from:Higher Institute for Conservation and Restoration. ICR Cultural heritage.