Mushrooms around the base of trees is not a good sign
For the past couple of years I have been watching mushrooms sprout at the base of a large tree after every rain, but is this good or bad?
Mushrooms that appear around the Base of Tree Trunks
Mushrooms tend to flourish in areas where there is decay, and when they start popping up around the base of large trees, it's a sure sign that the tree is not in good health.
Some years ago, one of my long-established trees started to look ill; it wasn't putting out as much new growth in the spring and some of the smaller branches were dying off. This had me a bit worried, as the tree was high enough that if it did topple over it would cause serious damage to buildings.
At the same time as noticing the decline in tree health, I also noticed that mushrooms would sprout up around the base of the tree after a rainy spell. There were large clusters of beige and sometimes dark brown mushrooms that started to grow in small clumps but only around the perimeter of the tree.
Taking into consideration that mushrooms love to grow in areas of decay, I realised that the only cause for the mushrooms to flourish would be if the roots of the tree were infected by disease. Action was taken to cut down and remove the tree (much to my heartfelt sob at losing such a beautiful tree), and the root system was indeed rotting. If the tree had been left in place it wouldn't have been long before a strong wind forced the tree over and onto the roof of the house.
Now I see that my salt and pepper tree (myoporum laetum) is also showing signs of disease, and while this tree is only about 4 metres tall, if it falls against my perimeter wall it will wreak quite a bit of serious damage.
Research has indicated that the fungus responsible for the damage to the tree trunk cannot be cured, especially when it reaches an advanced stage, and the tree will need to be cut down and removed.
Mushrooms that Grow out from the Tree Trunk
Another sure sign of tree decay or disease is the appearance of tree mushrooms. These are solid chunks that start to grow out of the side or at the base of a tree. The image below shows a tree mushroom that had appeared on the root ball after cutting down the diseased tree.
Believe it or not, you can remove these tree mushrooms and use them for DIY projects - they make unique shelves!
How to Prevent Mushroom Colonies around Trees
While it is difficult to treat the appearance of fungus around the base of trees, there are some measures that you can put in place to limit the occurrence:
- Ensure that soil drains well and does not pool around the base of large trees or shrubs
- Clean your garden tools after each use
- Rake up any fallen leaves or debris and remove from the area
- Do not overwater beds or areas where trees are planted
There are fungicides available that can be used to treat diseased trees, and you will find a selection of these any your local Builders store or garden centre, but sadly, in my case, the tree will have to be removed.