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MsAM
MsAM, Arboriculture-expert
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 11137
Experience:  Biology degree, 40 years experience tree-growing.
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I have a very old tree on my property that is sprouting

Customer Question

I have a very old tree on my property that is sprouting several mushroom like growths. One person said they are oyster mushrooms, another friend thinks it is "bracken fungus." Someone else told us the tree is dead, but if the tree has green leaves on it, how could it be dead?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Arboriculture
Expert:  MsAM replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in trees. I would like to help you today.

Your tree is certainly still alive at this point. As you suspect, dead trees don't grow leaves. Both bracket (sometimes called bracken) fungus and oyster mushrooms are saprophytic mushrooms. They are very common. They come in many, many different colors. They are decomposers. They will grow on old or diseased trees. They don't harm a tree themselves, but are an indication that something is very wrong. By the time these fungi appear on a tree, there is no treatment. Removing the mushrooms doesn't help because the part we see is only a tiny bit of the fungus. The main part is growing deep inside the tree.

The parts of the fungus we see are called basidiocarps. By the time the basidiocarps appear, the rot has progressed quite far. Such a tree can come down at any moment.If it is in an area that poses a danger to property and people, you may want to consider taking it down. Such trees often come down during storms or when iced over in the winter, but have also been known to fall on a sunny day with a gentle breeze. There is no way to predict when it will happen. The tree may stand for several years, or it may come down tomorrow. If it's in a woods or not near structures or traveled areas, it's not as much of a problem.

If you have more questions, or would like reputable websites to confirm what I've said, just let me know in a REPLY. It's always a shame to lose a beautiful mature tree, but sometimes there is nothing we can do to avoid it. Just like all living things, trees grow old and reach the ends of their lifespans.

Anna

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