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How to Address Lichen Growth on a Tombstone

Your loved one’s tombstone is meant to serve as a lasting memorial — a place where family and friends can gather to reflect on the life of the deceased. Though tombstones are made from durable materials, the natural effects of weather and nature can lead to wear and tear and diminish their appearance. Lichen is a particularly common issue that appears in graveyards. Here is how you can address this growth and keep your loved one’s tombstone looking its best.

What Is Lichen?

Lichen is a slow-growing organism that is distinguished by its crusty appearance. This plant is actually the result of several different types of fungi growing together to create the thin leafy crust. Lichen is usually black, brown, grey, green or orange. As it grows in thickness it becomes increasingly more difficult to remove.

Over time the thickening lichen can make the tombstone’s lettering harder and harder to read.

Cleaning Lichen From Tombstones

Lichen needs to be cleaned as soon as possible, or it will become harder to remove. Lichen can be removed by wetting the tombstone with distilled water and then scrubbing the affected area with a nylon brush. Harder to remove crustose lichen may require a specialized lichen cleaner.