SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT TREE FUNGUS?
If you've ever noticed tree fungus on any of your beloved companions, it was probably a sad day.
We say this because, once a fungus takes root, it's quite difficult to turn back the hands of time. In a moment we'll reveal the secret to proper tree care, including fungi prevention. But, in the meantime, we'd like to provide you with an overview of what to look out for. We'll review common types of tree fungus and help you rest assured that you're not likely to contract tree fungi during routine maintenance. Together, let's dust off our garden gloves, get ready to spritz some fungicide, and learn the secret behind tree fungus help.
TYPES OF TREE FUNGUS
There are different types of tree fungus that can crop up in the Alberta area. Here's a highlight reel on the ones we commonly deal with:
Armillaria Root Rot - a fungus that can cause sap decay and kill the tree
Canker of Spruce - lesions that can cause deformation, reduce growth, and cause death
Fire Blight - a bacterial disease that can brown leaves, and kill flowers and branches
Heart Rot Disease - mushrooms and fungi that form around the root, and can cause decay and branch breakage
Oak Wilt - a fungus that wilts leaves and limbs
Oystershell Scale - clusters of what resemble oyster shells that can choke out the bark
Pine Needle Cast - a fungus that can cause defoliation of needles and death of branches
Red Heart Rot - a fungus with a fruiting body that forms heartwood strains and terminal dieback of branches
Satin moth - a fungus that feeds on poplar leaves
Generally speaking, diseases caused by fungus include oak wilt, heart rot, root rot, and sap rot. These are dangerous for the tree because they can cause structural damage and, ultimately, destroy the tree. Fungi typically work from the inside out. The good news is, tree fungus doesn't typically transmit to humans and our beloved pets. Although a few tree fungi can affect humans, it's a rarity. You're more likely to see pathogens spread from fruits, vegetables, shrubs, vines, and plants.
HOW TO GET RID OF FUNGUS
Like humans, trees will show symptoms of sickness. For example, root rot will often create sogginess and fungal growths (like mushrooms) near the soil line. Heart rot and sap rot typically produce fruit growths along the trunk and branches. Meanwhile, wilts will do just that; they'll wilt the leaves and often cause discolouration. If you start to see a fungus form, you can target the area with fungicide and prune the dead or severely diseased branches. You may have to repeat this kind of treatment for several weeks. Two important tips to note: only prune during dry weather (because fungi love wet weather) and always sanitize your tools upon completion (so you don't continue the spread to other parts the tree).
PREVENTION IS KEY
But, here's the secret. If you're wondering what to do about tree fungus, know that prevention is key. Once a tree has been attached by fungi, it's kind of like a cancer and you can't always be sure where it's spread. You'll want to prune your younger trees to promote a strong structure. While dead or diseased limbs should be cut off, careful management is required because cutting large limbs from old trees can create open wounds that are susceptible to fungi. During dry spells, be sure to water your trees. Where necessary, you can follow a fertilization schedule. Fungicides can be applied in the early stages of fungi growth to prevent it from taking hold but you want to do everything you can to prevent its inception.
WHEN IS A TREE TOO SICK TO KEEP?
As you can see, fungal management is a bit of a science. And we hate to repeat the bad news but, once a fungus has started, it's not likely the tree will recover. (That's why prevention really is key.)
Once you see advanced signs of fungi forming, it may be time to remove the tree. We can help you with this decision by providing a disease consultation. If your treatments aren't taking hold, that tree should be removed for a number of reasons.
First, it can spread its disease from tree to tree. Second, the integrity of the tree is breaking down and the tree can become a hazard to the surrounding area. Finally, a decaying tree is a welcome wagon for termites and other pests that can make their way into your home.
As arborists, we love nothing more than a Sunday afternoon stroll down a tree-lined lane. So, we hate to see any of them go. But, an infected tree that's showing more and more outward signs is a red flag that will need to be assessed.
TREE FUNGUS MAINTENANCE AND PREVENTION
If you live in the Edmonton region and require any sort of tree care services, we're here for you. Here at All Season Tree Service, we can help you with a disease consultation or tree removal if any of your trees have succumbed to fungus.
We also provide stump removal (grinding) and can assess hazardous/damaged trees on the property to maximize the full enjoyment of your space.
We're committed; we're reliable; we're convenient, and we're here to help you maintain the overall health and wellness of your property. Contact us today!