4 Ways to Identify Tree Fungi in Missouri

If you have trees in your yard, chances are that you have tree fungi as well. This is just part of owning a tree, along with all of the benefits. However, there are some fungi that you can ignore and there are some that you cannot. It is difficult to distinguish between the two types until it is too late. Instead, you need to learn how to identify a problem and then contact a professional that can then tell you whether it is something to worry about or not.

Most of us don’t know how to identify tree fungi because we think that everything is “natural” and therefore it is okay. While it is true that few trees will die because of fungi, they will die because the fungi enabled them to be infected by something.

So what can you do? The best thing is to understand the signs and symptoms of a problem. Here are just a few signs of tree fungi in Missouri:

4. Spots on Leaves and Branches

  • Black Spots are the Worst Kind
  • Any Color Spots Indicates Problem
  • Look for 3D Growths

Many of us grew up seeing spots on our leaves and stems. We saw them and even picked them off sometimes without having to worry about whether or not the tree would fall. However, it is a serious issue that we should pay attention to when we can. Sometimes, spots will appear on leaves and stems and it won’t be a big problem. However, the darker the spots are, the worse the problem is. Take a picture of the problem and call your local tree care company.

Per the Missouri Botanical Garden, “Leaf spot is a common descriptive term applied to a number of diseases affecting the foliage of ornamentals and shade trees. The majority of leaf spots are caused by fungi, but some are caused by bacteria.” You don’t have to know the difference because both require attention from professionals.

3. Softs Spots on Tree

  • Do Not Push Too Hard
  • Check for “Moist” Spots
  • Purchase Moisture Monitors

If you have a lot of moisture in your yard, your tree is damaged, or you have a fungi problem (it could be all of the above), you likely have soft spots on your tree. This is an issue that some people don’t notice because they never touch their trees. If you are a homeowner, once or twice a year, just run your hands over your tree. If you notice any parts of the wood that just don’t feel right, you need to get some professional help.

One way to do this is to eliminate some of the moisture in your yard. Another way is to plant trees that are made for our climate.

According to Thousand Cankers Disease organization, “Most needle cast fungi infect young, newly formed needles in the late spring or early summer, however symptoms do not begin to develop until the following winter or early spring.” This means you may be waiting around for some time. They also say that catching the fungi early is key.

2. Wounds Not Healing

  • Do Not Cause More Wounds Than Necessary
  • Do Not Cover Wounds When They Are Healing
  • Pay Attention to New Wounds

Whenever you make a cut on your tree, a limb breaks off, or even when an animal makes its home there, your tree gets wounded. The wound is similar to something that humans get: the tree immediately starts to heal itself and then the tree forms a scab or covering. However, it takes longer for trees than it does for humans. Those wounds take up valuable nutrients and water from the tree. That is what makes the wound so attractive to fungi: the water and nutrients flood that area.

Fungi move in and invade, getting stronger and stronger on the nutrients meant for the tree. Then, they are strong enough to take over the rest of the weakened tree. Eventually, the tree dies.

According to Purdue, “Wood decay fungi are important forest recyclers, breaking down wood from fallen branches and dead trees and releasing nutrients and organic matter to the soil.” However, since you don’t have a forest, it is likely that you don’t want this in your yard.

1. Mushrooms

  • Any Kind of Mushroom Can Develop
  • Start Low and Move Upwards
  • Check Shade Cover As Well

Many of us have mushrooms in our yards. However, one or two mushrooms is a lot different than hordes of mushrooms. If you see large clusters of mushrooms on or near your trees, this is a sign that something is wrong. The fungi have taken over your tree and are feeding on its nutrients. This can open the tree up to other diseases and problems.

If you see a larger cluster of mushrooms or just a large smattering, you need to get professional help as soon as possible. This is a bad sign and requires help. Do not remove the mushrooms by yourself because the tree care professional may need to see them.

Hunker explains that while mushrooms can be beautiful (and even tasty, in some tree mushroom cases), they are not good for your trees. They have a great guide of the mushrooms that you can use to cook.

If you believe that you have tree fungi or you have another problem that is plaguing your trees, you shouldn’t handle the situation by yourself. Too often, you have to use chemicals or means that are dangerous for people who don’t know what they are doing. Go Green Tree & Landscaping should be your Independence, MO option for tree care of all kinds, including tree diseases. We take the health of your yard seriously and aim to keep your trees standing for as long as possible. Since time is of the essence in these cases, it is best to call us as soon as you know that you have a problem. Give us a call today at (816) 520-4864.

Header Photo Courtesy of Bernard Spragg. NZ on Flickr!
By | 2018-12-03T16:08:02+00:00 July 16th, 2017|Tree Care|0 Comments

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