In the past week or so we’ve noticed lots of mushrooms growing around trees and in homeowners’ yards. This increase in mushrooms can be blamed on the rainy past few weeks. When you have mushrooms growing in your yard or at the base of your tree it can be worrisome. Mushrooms can be a sign of root rot, heart rot, and overall decay. When these conditions are left untreated it can cause your tree to uproot or snap and come crashing down on your property.
Although not all mushrooms are bad, it’s important to be able to recognize mushrooms that are signs of decay.
Where Are You Mushrooms Located?
Mushrooms located throughout your yard far away from the trunk of your tree are typically no cause for concern. If you have mushrooms located at the base of your tree it is more likely to be a problem. Mushrooms growing at the base of a tree are a likely indicator of advanced interior decay.
What Do Your Mushrooms Look Like?
Honey Fungus (Armillaria Spp.): Sign of Root Rot
Honey fungus is a particularly dangerous mushroom that grows near a tree’s roots. This mushroom is a sign of Armillaria root rot. Mushrooms are yellowish-brown and grow in clusters around the base of your tree or tree’s roots. Look for a distinct white ring around the mushroom’s stems.
Susceptible Trees: Oak, birch, fruit trees, and hedge plants are most commonly infected but a wide range of trees and shrubs are susceptible.
Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus): Sign of Heart Rot
This mushroom is a sign of brown heart rot. Generally entering trees through bark wounds and dead branch stubs, this fungus will destabilize your tree by hollowing out the center. Trees with chicken of the woods will be brittle and likely to snap. Look for yellow to bright orange fan-shaped mushrooms growing in overlapping tiers.
Susceptible Trees: Acacia, ash, beech, birch, cherry, chestnut, elm, eucalyptus, fir, hackberry, black locust, honey locust, maple, oak, Virginia pine, poplar, spruce, tulip, walnut, and yew.
Ganoderma Spp: Sign of Root Rot & Trunk Rot
This fungus invades through tree wounds causing extensive decay of roots and trunk. Trees infected will typically die within 3-5 years; however, infected oaks and maples will experience rapid decay. Look for semi-circular mushrooms growing around the base of your tree. Depending on the species these mushrooms will either be brown on top and white underneath or red-brown with varnish-like crust.
Susceptible Trees: Acacia, alder, apple, ash, birch, boxwood, cherry, citrus, elm, eucalyptus, fir, hackberry, black locust, honey locust, magnolia, maple, mulberry, oak, peach, pine, poplar, redbud, spruce, sweet gum, sycamore, tulip, and willow.
Have Mushrooms Growing On/Around Your Tree?
Or Call 703.573.3029
Tree Mushroom/Fungus Treatment:
Once infected with a tree fungus your tree or shrub can never be fully cured. However; it can be treated. Our arborist will recommend a plan to suppress the tree fungus. This will stop the disease from getting worse and to restore your tree’s health and vigor.
If the fungus is too far developed, the arborist may recommend removing the tree/shrub and replacing it with a fungi resistant species.
Prevent Mushrooms and Fungi:
Prevention is key when it comes to fungus. Avoid practices that promote fungal growth.
- Don’t over water
- Make sure your soil drains properly
- Boost overall health with proper maintenance
- Sanitize gardening tools between plants
- Rake and remove falling leaves from your yard
- Use preventative fungicides
If you already have mushrooms growing on your tree it’s best to have an arborist come identify it. An arborist will be able to let you know if the fungus is harmful and be able to recommend appropriate treatments. Book an appointment with one of our arborists online or call 703.573.3029.