Written by Jasper Boekelman and published on https://emeraldtreecare.wordpress.com/

To get a better understanding of how mushrooms affect trees, we need to become familiar with what a mushroom is. Mushrooms are a type of fungus – or the plural version, fungi. The external structure that we see above the ground disperses spores which are involved in the reproduction process of fungi. Not all fungi growing on your tree are harmful, some are actually beneficial, but most mushroom-producing species are decomposers of wood.

Mushrooms are the visible fruiting bodies of a fungus that may attack living tissue, but usually confines itself to feeding on dead organic matter, such as rotten wood. This is largely beneficial, as the breakdown of wood returns its constituent matter to the soil to enrich it. When you see mushrooms growing on a living tree, however, this is a warning sign that all is not well with that tree.

Mushrooms Growing On My Trees, What Does It Mean?

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Often times, after heavy periods of rain, some trees may sprout mushrooms at the base of the trunk.  They grow fast, and are a very important sign that something could be wrong with your tree.  Mushrooms are known as fruiting bodies; meaning they are a specimen that produces spore of a fungus.  There are many different types of fungus, but the one to be most wary of, with regards to your trees, is the Armillaria Species.  Armillaria is a parasitic fungi that causes root rot and could prove deadly to hardwoods like Oak, Elms, and Honey Locust Trees.

A couple of ways to identify these fruiting bodies, which are often called honey mushrooms, is to examine their appearance.  If the mushrooms on your tree are yellowish in color, with a white rim around their stems and a flat shaped cap, you likely have Armillaria.  A second way to confirm if your mushrooms are honey mushrooms is their smell. Honey Mushrooms got their name because of the sweet smell they let off.  Unfortunately, there is typically very few signs of this root rotting fungus until the mushrooms sprout, and by then it is too late.  Your tree might appear completely healthy, but that does not mean you can ignore this alarming symptom.  Armillaria invades the roots and wood of the tree, extracting all the nutrients for it’s own survival.  Once infected, the structural integrity of the tree is completely compromised and there is rarely an option for treatment, removal being the only solution.

It’s very important that you call a certified arborist for an inspection as soon as you spot mushrooms on the base of your tree.  One infected tree can pose great danger for the rest of the trees on your property.  Special precautionary steps, such as removing as much of the roots as possible, should be taken to avoid the spread of this invasive pathogen.

Original post here https://emeraldtreecare.wordpress.com/2017/09/14/mushrooms-growing-on-my-trees-what-does-it-mean/.

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