Thursday, October 25, 2018

What To Do When Mushrooms Start Growing Near Your Trees

mushrooms begin growing

It’s a bad sign for any gardener when mushrooms begin growing around your trees. Mushrooms are a fungus that attacks a tree’s tissues and breaks it down. If not caught soon enough the tree can begin to die and become a hazard on your property. Below is the information you need to understand how mushroom attack trees, what to look for and how to prevent it.

What Are Mushrooms?
Mushrooms are fungi, usually with a fleshy body that are spread through spores. Mushrooms are the tip of the fungi and they cover a root system beneath. A lot of times they can be great for your yard by breaking down organic material and providing nutrients for your soil. They grow on the ground, around roots and even on trees. They usually thrive in low-light environments with high moisture and nearby organic matter that they can use as a food source. Not all mushrooms found in the wilderness are dangerous. Some are even edible, but before eating any growing in your yard, it’s important to know how to identify them.

The mushrooms that grow on trees are usually getting their food source through a dead area of a tree or rotting area of a tree. This allows them to flourish and grow and once their spores are released the mushroom can continue using the tree as the food source. Mushrooms grow in abundance, especially in the Oregon area, so it’s important to notice the signs for which mushrooms might be harming your trees and which might be safe to keep in your yard.

Where Mushrooms Attack Trees
Mushrooms attack where trees are vulnerable so the best way to protect your tree from mushrooms in the first place is to keep an eye on wound areas. Wound areas are open marks around your tree that can be caused by bad pruning, storms, or lightning. These open areas are the perfect breeding grounds for mushrooms so make sure to keep an eye on them.

Beyond wounds, another way that mushrooms can get into a tree’s tissue is through the roots themselves. These are hard to spot since the attack is happening under ground, but proper care of your tree can help protect your roots. Also, make sure that your tree isn’t over-watered and that it’s getting enough sunlight to help keep the root system stay intact.

Symptoms
If mushrooms begin to grow, it’s important to keep an eye out for the symptoms, especially if the mushrooms are unseen. If there are dying leaves, limbs or bark discoloration, these may be signs that your tree is dealing with an internal fungus.

As the fungus grows, the entire structure of the tree becomes unstable. At this point, it is imperative to call your local arborist to see if the tree can be saved or if it needs to be removed.

Rot and the Mushrooms
If there is an open wound there are three different kinds of heart rot that can develop: white rot, brown rot, and soft rots. These rots develop due to varying kinds of mushrooms and if you are able to look for the signs, the more chance you have of saving the tree. White rot organisms cause the wood to become soft and spongy and the wood can appear white or yellow. This rot can be damaging, but if caught in time, the tree can still be saved.

One of the mushrooms that come from white rot is the white split mushroom, which is fairly common and causes white rot in over 75 different kinds of trees. Another is the Artist’s conk, which is brown and white in color and develops white rot on citrus trees, as well as elm, fir, maple, and pine. Another white rot mushroom fungus is the varnish fungus, which is bright red and can kill a tree within a few years.

Brown rot, or dry rot, can be more damaging. A sign of brown rot is that it leaves the wood dry and crumbly. The most common mushroom that creates dry rot is the sulfur fungus, which begins as soft conks that become brittle with time. They are reddish on the bottom and orange on the top, but turn white as they age. The second is the beefsteak fungus, which is a reddish-brown in color and causes intensive rot in hardwood trees. The final is the red-banded polypore that doesn’t have a consistent appearance but usually has a red band at the bottom of the bract.

The final category is the soft rots. These are caused by bacteria and fungi. Luckily, the soft rots tend to grow slowly, but create damage by forming microscopic pockets within the wood, which causes internal cracking within the trunk. The more pockets that form, the weaker the tree’s structure becomes.

How To Get Rid of Mushrooms
As we’ve previously mentioned, mushrooms prefer areas with buried organic matter, high moisture and low light. Below are some tips for stopping your mushroom growth.

When there is organic matter, which includes buried stumps, or roots, a fungus can develop but usually will disappear after the organic material has been broken down. Now if this is a stump that you are looking to get rid of, the process can be expedited with a nitrogen fertilizer. If you are looking to save the organic material, such as one of your trees, it’s important to call your arborist to see if it can be saved.

For high moisture, it’s important to keep track of how your lawn works with drainage. If the lawn isn’t draining properly, a fungus can form. The best way to create a perfect moisture level for your lawn and trees is to do infrequent watering but for longer periods of time.

If there is low light in an area of your lawn, this may encourage mushroom growth. Make sure that you keep your trees trimmed so all parts of your lawn are getting the correct amount of sunlight.

If you find mushrooms near your tree it’s important to take a look to make sure you get rid of the three things it needs to grow and if it is infesting your trees, make sure to investigate further.


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