What is Honey Fungus and How Does it Affect Trees?
If you’ve noticed a cluster of honey coloured toadstools or white fungal growth between loose bark and wood of your tree, it might be a case of honey fungus infection.. It is important that trees infected by honey fungus are properly assessed, to ensure they are not in dangerous condition and to prevent spread of the disease where possible. Check this article for the signs and symptoms of honey fungus. If you notice any — don’t panic. Just call Artemis Tree Services for help.
What is honey fungus?
Honey fungus is a common name given to various species of fungus that attack the roots of many woody and perennial plants. Honey fungus includes about ten species and may also be referred to by its scientific classification ‘Armillaria’.
Honey fungus tends to grow in small dense clusters and may manifest as honey-coloured mushrooms and/or a white fungus, both of which would typically be found at the base of the tree.
Many tree and woody shrub species can be at risk of honey fungus infection, including apple, beech, birch, hydrangea, magnolia, pear and privet..
Honey fungus is not always easy to spot because it attacks the tree from underground. Though it’s also prevalent in the wild, honey fungus tends to be more destructive in managed gardens due to a lack of competing fungi interfering with its attack.
How is a tree affected by honey fungus?
Honey fungus generally attacks the tree below the ground but will eventually cause problems above ground, too.
Symptoms of honey fungus below ground include:
- Dead or decaying roots
- Rhizomorphs — a threadlike or cordlike structure — which absorb nutrients from the tree
Symptoms of honey fungus from above ground include:
- Dead upper parts of the plant
- Unusually small and pale leaves
- Failure to flower or unusually heavy flowering
- Premature autumn colour
- Cracking or bleeding bark
Remember — a white fungus or the sudden growth of a honey-coloured mushroom at the base of the tree is usually an indicator of a honey fungus infection, and usually with the tree or shrub looking in poor health.
How is honey fungus treated?
Unfortunately, there is no treatment available for honey fungus. Often the best course of action is to excavate and destroy all of the infected root and stump material. This may be achieved via burning or landfill. Excavation and destruction of the infected areas can be dangerous if not carried out by a professional. You should always contact a professional tree surgeon if you suspect honey fungus on any of your trees.
What about other tree fungi?
If fungus is growing from or close to your tree but doesn’t look like honey fungus, it is best to have this checked by a professional. Wood decay fungi can grow in many forms, such as toadstools growing at the base of trees or large fungal brackets growing directly from the trunk or branches.
A tree may look healthy from the outside, but decayed or hollow inside the trunk or below ground. In some cases it may be necessary to assess the extent of internal decay using specialist decay detection equipment.
At Artemis Tree Services, we use the latest Resistograph Microdrill (IML Resi-PD400) to accurately detect small changes of internal wood structure. The versatility of this equipment allows us to assess the trunk and large structural roots, as well as higher up parts of the tree as part of an aerial inspection. In some cases, an air spade will be used to expose and assess the condition of major roots.
Artemis Tree Services are award-winning tree surgeons serving domestic and commercial clients across North London, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. Among our extensive range of services is tree decay detection, where we use cutting-edge equipment to identify various types of tree decay. If you suspect there is an issue with your tree, our team will accurately identify the problem and use safe, efficient and effective methods to remedy it.
Don’t let decay destroy your trees. Contact Artemis Tree Services today for swift, professional help.