Common fungi and their affects on your trees!
Bracket fungi information
Bracket fungi are fruiting bodies which are found in many different forms, they attack the heartwood and cause irreversible damage to trees. The two most commonly seen bracket fungi are Inonotus Hispidus and Ganoderma Applanatum.
In the early stages of an infection, there is little evidence of die back or thinning in the canopy of the tree, which is why it is very important to keep your trees clear from debris and Ivy, (which makes it easier to spot these infections). By the time a bracket appears there is often extensive decay in the heartwood and actions will need to be taken in order to prevent the tree from dropping branches or even worse...complete failure. When it's reached this stage, unfortunately there is very little that can be done to combat these infections.
Although there is no cure, there are ways to prevent an infection. All fungi like damp environments so make sure the bases of of your trees are not standing in water or covered over with debris such as grass cuttings or excess soil. As soon as you notice an infection, if it is safe to do so, remove the bracket. This will at least prevent the spores from spreading to other trees. (Please note that this has not stopped the infection decaying the heartwood). The next steps are to contact a tree surgeon, take pictures of the bracket before and after removal and also keep hold of it for inspection. Strong and healthy trees will sometimes respond with a natural chemical barrier in an attempt to fight off the infection, just like our human bodies! Due to this, do not attempt to intervene with your own methods that you may have read about online. There is a great amount of misleading information around certain solutions to paint on infected areas to seal the infection, this will only makes matters worse.
Certain fungi are not detrimental to a trees vitality. Many harmless fungi form only on dead or decayed wood, usually in woodlands where trees are left for wildlife habitat, which is all part of the cycle of life! The picture below shows an example Pleurotus Ostreatus (Oyster Mushroom) which is a common edible mushroom.
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This can often be confused with Honey Fungus, which is the most destructive fungal disease in UK and causes considerable damage to the root system. Below is a link with more information on Honey Fungus.