Tree Wood Fungus

Tree wood fungus can weaken a tree and make it fall. Some of the types and what they do to a tree and how to treat and prevent it.

A fungus is the most common cause of infectious diseases in trees. There are many different types of fungi that can infect a tree and cause it to wilt and die. Some of these can cause a tree that was once strong and healthy to become weak and damaged. These structurally weakened trees need to be removed immediately because they pose a risk of falling over and doing damage to property or even causing injury and death. Some are easily detected and treated while others can go on undetected until it's too late to save the tree.

Fungus grows from spores that are spread through the air and through rainwater, dead leaves, and insects that track the microscopic spores to the leaves of the tree. One of the types of fungus that can destroy a tree is rust fungus. In this type of fungus the spores are generally dry reddish brown to orange and need to be on a live tree or other live plant in order to survive. If the tree dies, so does the fungus. The fungus will then travel to other live trees that are in the area. If one tree dies from the infection, odds are you will need to treat other plants around it to prevent further tree damage.

Wood decay fungi grow tiny root-like threads called hyphae through damp wood of a tree, taking their nutrients from the wood as they grow. Wood decay fungus attacks from inside of a tree where it may go undetected until the tree structure is so weak that it begins dropping limbs or collapses. This type can thrive on a tree whether it's living or dead. Some types of this fungus also have a good function. In the forest, this is the type of fungus that is beneficial to the breakdown of dead trees that have fallen to the ground. Without it, there would be dead trees on the ground everywhere because they wouldn't decompose.



Canker fungus will infect a tree through broken branches and through cuts in the tree that leave the inside exposed. This fungus will then destroy the bark of the tree and will eventually cause the tree to die off. The tree will have begun to look sparse and will not be as full as it once was. Wilt fungus invades the vascular part of the tree making the tree unable to supply nutrients to the leaves and branches. This fungus will cause the leaves of the tree to become wilted. This happens because the fungus produces agents that clog the arteries that carry water through the tree. This fungus will eventually lead to the death of the tree.

Once a tree is infected the way to get rid of most fungus is by using various fungicides that are made for the type of fungus your tree may have. The best way to avoid this is to prevent infection in the first place. The best way to do this is to make sure when you plant trees that you plant them in an area that drains well. Damp swampy areas are a breeding ground for fungus. When mowing the lawn, be careful not to cause an injury to the tree. If you should nick the tree, apply anti-fungal spray, sealer or dressing to prevent the tree from being vulnerable. Do the same when pruning, make sure to cover all open areas to prevent fungus and other agents from getting into your tree and causing disease. Prevention is much cheaper than treating a diseased tree.

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