Fungus Amongus and the Trees

August 16th, 2008

While wandering the property this week I found a fungus bonanza in an area where the grass has not been cut under the trees for many weeks.   There were probably five or six varieties in a small area.  The fungus is fascinating to look at, but I have to wonder if they are also a sign of a greater problem with the landscape and trees?  

Oak tree decline is a problem in Missouri and other states, and it may affect us locally as well. Over the past few years we’ve lost 3-4 large oak trees, most likely stressed due to drought conditions during the same timeframe.  Once stressed, the trees are more susceptible to insect and fungus damage.    It’s hard to see a 70 or 100 year old tree die.  But I’ve planted other native trees in the landscape as well, and with a little luck they’ll achieve a similar stature one day.

 Dead Oak tree

Some of the tree decay and loss occurs naturally of course, but hopefully it won’t happen on a large scale over a short timeframe.   I see a few other trees that we may lose in the next year as well.  Although we’ve got a lot of trees on our small acreage, if we lost 3-4 each year, it wouldn’t be too long before our landscape changed dramatically. 

 I’m not sure what type of fungi this is, but there were a half-dozen scattered around looking like brown turtles!

Fungi that looks like turtles

Among the different types of plain looking fungi in the area, this red topped mushroom stood out.

Red fungi of uknown type

For now I’ll need to cut down several of the large trees that have died.  Sometimes  it’s good to leave a dead tree or two as a snag host for woodpeckers, insects and other wildlife.  But a few of the trees are in areas where people walk and play, and can be quite hazardous when the large branches let go.  And if I cut the dead tree down within the year, we’ll have a good supply of firewood to help keep energy costs down.   Every little bit helps. 

Editors note:  I wrote this a few days ago, to post in absentia while we are canoeing down some lovely stretch of Missouri river this week.  See you in a couple days!

5 Responses to “Fungus Amongus and the Trees”

  1. Have you talked to the local conservation agent? They seem to be pretty helpful about this sort of stuff. S/he might be able to give you some idea about the original habitat in your area with an eye to culling some of the trees to restore it.

    Cheers on your trip.

  2. fairyellen

    I believe I’ve recently read that the fungus usually indicates a lack of oxygen in the soil…

  3. Hi R.S. I should do that, would be nice to get some professional advice. And a lack of oxygen F? It’s pretty shaded there. I wonder if aeration would help too?

  4. I hadn’t heard of oak decline specifically but we always seems to lose some trees in times of droughts. Right now up here, everyone is worrying about the Emerald Ash Borer. I guess a colony has been found in the NE corner of your state at a campground, likely brought in on firewood.

  5. I just heard about the ash borer thing. Ouch… we have a huge old ash tree that I hope is here a long time.

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