Tis the season of fungus. Warm, humid weather promotes the spread and cultivation of fungus and root rots that attack weak or declining trees. Read on to find out more about Ganoderma root rot which is common in Oak, Maple, Ash, Elm, and other hardwood trees.
What is Ganoderma root rot?
Ganoderma is a fungus that infects the roots and lower trunk of hardwood trees. It attacks the heartwood, sapwood, and cambium tissue of the tree.
The first visible sign of Ganoderma is mushroom conks around the base of the tree. These fruiting bodies will be shelf-like in appearance, red-brown on the top with a white edge, and have a shiny, lacquered appearance. Your tree may exhibit warning signs like yellow, wilting leaves, or even whole dead branches.
In the summer, during humid periods, the conks release spores which then infect open wounds on root flares and lower trunks.
What does it do to my tree?
Trees with advanced infections have a high risk of falling. Infected trees usually fall before they die. The fungus rots away the wood it is in contact with, this causes the wood at the anchoring base of the tree to become dangerously soft and spongy.
How do I get rid of Ganoderma?
Unfortunately, once a mushroom conk has been spotted it is too late for the tree. There is no fungicide that can treat ganoderma. Infected trees can live for 3-5 years depending on environmental stress. The trees vigor will continue to decline as the fungus decays the heartwood.
Because of the loss of structural integrity of the tree the tree is a hazard. The tree will most likely uproot and fall before dying.
An infected tree should be removed by a professional as soon as possible, the tree poses a very high risk of falling and could damage property, cars, and landscaping, endanger pedestrians, and block streets . A Certified Arborist should be consulted for the removal of an infected tree, the tree must be properly disposed of so the fungus does not spread to other plants.
How do I prevent root rot?
Practicing regular tree maintenance is the best way to prevent tree diseases. Regular pruning or trimming, fertilization, mulching, and inspections by a certified arborist can help keep your trees healthy.
Avoid damage to trunks and roots. Be cautious when using a mower or lawn equipment near a tree, a cut in the bark can be the gateway for fungal spores. If doing construction, keep all equipment and materials away from the tree’s root zone and limit foot traffic near the tree.