Mushrooms taste great on a nice steak. However, when you find them growing around the trees in the landscape, it could mean problems. Serious problems!

Like all living organisms, the fungi that form mushrooms or a conk need to eat. When you find mushrooms growing on a tree or in its root zone, it usually means that the fungus is eating (i.e. rotting) plant tissue.

Perhaps the most serious mushroom to find is the ones that form at the base of the tree near the soil line. These are usually the fruiting bodies (mushrooms) of root rot fungi. This means that the organisms are consuming the roots and this can make the tree less stable. It could be more likely to fall over in a storm so care should be taken to remove these trees if they threaten houses, driveways or the kid's playset.

Once you start seeing mushrooms coming through the bark of the tree, it is too late to do anything about it. Sometimes this occurs as part of the inevitable decline of an old tree. Such trees need to be evaluated by a registered arborist who is trained in evaluation of tree stability.

About the only thing you can do is try to keep the tree healthy by watering during droughts, fertilizing occasionally and pruning properly.


Note: We have provided some general information and observations on this topic aimed at the home gardener. Before you take any serious action in your landscape, check with your state's land grant university's Cooperative Extension Service for the most current, appropriate, localized recommendations.


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