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W. Sorgen
W. Sorgen, ISA Ceritified Arborist
Category: Landscaping
Satisfied Customers: 178
Experience:  Bachelor's degree in forestry, and owner of a residential/commercial tree service.
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I live in an apartment complex in the central valley of

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I live in an apartment complex in the central valley of California. It is landscaped with large sequoia trees. I have three large ones outside my balcony in a cluster approximately 30-40 feet tall. The last year and half or so I have noticed growths around their branches and trunks, more noticeable further up toward the tops of the trees. The growths vary in colors from black-and-white to yellow, orange, and white. These growths seems to occur throughout the year however more noticeable during the summer. It appears as if there is some movement produced by these growths as they are wrapping themselves around branches in a viliform like movement. Also at times at night it appears as if there is a light produced by the dark orange looking growths as they light up at night like clusters of hot burning coals.
There's also whitish discoloration around the base of the trunk on all three trees, and it looks like the bark is flaking off the trees. The trees are sitting on the end of a downslope. There is drainage but the trees are sitting in moisture at all times since the grounds are being watered every 2-3 hours even in times of heavy rains such as we've had recently.
I told the management that I was concerned about the trees having a fungal disease, and, also I have been ill with numerous health issues throughout the last year. I know supposedly plant fungus are not human pathogens but there has been rare cases documented where parasitic plant/ three fungus has invaded human tissues.
The management responded by having the lower branches, about 1/3 up the trunks, removed. However the trees look as sad as and soggy as ever. I have included some pictures of the branches and the trunks of the trees. What is going on???
I don't see the pictures. Pictures would be very helpful with this. Please try again. I can certainly say that sequoias should not be sitting in standing water, and it sounds as if they are over-irrigated.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Sorry my bad. Here are some pictures. How can I find out exactly what this organism is and if it possibly is making me ill as well as the trees?
Well, I can't see much in those pictures. The first one looks like some loose bark (which is normal, to an extent, for redwoods), the third looks like it's depicting the light orange undersides of some branches??? But I can't be certain. It looks like decay fungus, which would make sense on dead branches...are they dead branches?The second and fourth pictures, I can't make anything out.
It may be best advised to have a local tree professional inspect the trees to identify the pathogens in person. A qualified arborist can be found in the phone book or at
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I'm sure you're doing the best you can, but these photos are highly pixelated/out of focus, with the exception being the one showing the base of the tree. The best I can surmise from that photo is that the white on the trunk may be powdery mildew due to the constant wetness at the ground. Without clear, detailed close-up pictures, identification is not possible. I believe your only option is to consult with an arborist in person. Again, the best resource for that is the arborist finder on the ISA website:

Also, as for the glowing orange that you are seeing at night, the only bioluminescence in fungi is green in color. I would think that you are simply seeing the reflection of the lights at night off its orange flesh?

I'm sorry I couldn't do more to identify the organism(s). I hope you are able to get assistance in person. Please remember to rate my service.

W. Sorgen and other Landscaping Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Again, sorry about the picture quality. The fungus activity gets thicker toward the top of the tall Sequoias. There is a whitish cottony or spiderweb appearing growth covering branches and tree trunks. The branches are not dead but many look brown and diseased. Some branches are covered in orange/white or black and white growth. The branches are not dead, but they have only few brown needles on in many areas. There also appear to be a glistening, slimy quality visible on the fungus growths. The ground beneath the trees also have a fungus "blanket" on it.
Are there usually more than one fungus present in a fungus stricken tree? What are some other factors, except moisture, contributing to trees becoming infested? There is a lot of agriculture, especially grapes, in this area; could that be a factor?
The apartment management have been notified and they did cut down some branches from the part of the trees that were hanging over my balcony. They know about my fungus concerns and insist that there is no problem with it.
My concern is that the tree fungus has inoculated itself in me. I have been ill with numerous severe and unusual symptoms for a year and a half now. Are plant/tree fungus ever known to become pathogenic to humans?
Seems like there is much left to know and learn from the world of fungus!

Again, these images are very ill-focused or overly pixelated due to extreme zoom. They are not helpful in identifying what is contained within. You need to contact a tree professional who can inspect in person. If you are serious about getting this attended to, you NEED to contact a local professional.

As for tree diseases affecting humans, the answer is yes and no. These diseases will not "infect" humans, but as with all fungi, they do produce spores which you could possibly have an allergic reaction to. Grapes bring grown nearby should not have an affect on the redwood trees, as I know of no diseases of redwoods that also host in grapes.

The "glistening" you could be seeing may indicate that one (or more) of the fungi you are seeing is slime-mold. There is a very common slime-mold that is orange in color.