Mushrooms on Oak Tree (with pics)

U235June 3, 2012

Hi all,

I'm new to this forum. For the first time, we've found some small mushrooms on the trunk of one of our Oak trees. Rather than share a lot of detail since I'm not qualified, here are the pics. Looking for advice. I've emailed the pics to a well regarded arborist in town, but I always like to get other opinions to share and consider. I'm in Austin, TX.

The tree otherwise seems healthy. Here are pictures of the two mushrooms, as well as pictures after I removed one of them, as well as the tree from a distance.

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salicaceae(z8b FL)

That is Ganoderma. Call an arborist and have the tree inspected. It certainly has at least some root/butt rot.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 10:22PM
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Thanks, yeah that's definitely it. Reading online makes it pretty much seem it's a goner, now I have concerns of other trees having issues to since it seems to spread easily. I hope it's not the case, but we shall see.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 10:57PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

the tree is telephone poled.. i see no root flare.. roots are made for the ground.. and able to handle dampness...

the trunk/bark is NOT.. it is supposed to be dry .. and when its not.. it rots ..

but my bigger concern ... on that neck breaking sideways picture.. is whether the tree and its kin are leaning over the house ?????

if so ... there are reasons for removal.. beyond a few mushrooms ... can you flip that pic.. so we can focus easier???

i agree.. you need local help ... and not just any guy with a chain saw ... you need a certified asa tree guy ...


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 7:37AM
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Thanks. The three goes over the driveway, not directly over the house.

I rotated the picture in the same location.

The tree actually seems to have about four different trunks coming out in, I assume they all share the same root system.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 8:18AM
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Here are some more pictures of the overall structure.

In this picture, the one with the mushroom was trunk the one on the left

In this picture, it's the one on the right:

Here's a picture looking above the tree from the driveway:

In all reality, I had considered removing this spur that goes directly over the driveway earlier this year anyways. Now I'm just hoping the other trees are saved. Also, my neighbor has oaks nearby that appear to be from different root structures, but you never know.

For what it's worth, I moved into the house exactly a year ago, so I don't have that much knowledge on the history. This specific trunk has had some work done before with sizable branches removed from the trunk (as I'm sure it blocked the driveway).

Thanks for all the advice, I contacted yesterday, they are well reviewed, so hopefully I can get them out here soon.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 8:34AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

and there is nothing you can do to make the pix upright.. instead of sideways???

good luck


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 8:43AM
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Sorry, should be properly oriented now.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 9:42AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5


you said: so hopefully I can get them out here 'soon'. [my emphasis]

in the tree world.. and the fact that it is oak .. you might need them to 'rush out there' .. some time in the next decade ... lol ... seriously ... there is no emergency ... i hope anyway ...

and i still cant understand from the pix .. if they are leaning towards the house ... that is .. in my world.. more important than the disease itself ... as i have doubts there will be any recommended treatment ... and the only issue.. is how affected it is.. and how many years it has left.. AND WHERE IT WILL FALL .. WHEN IT DOES ..

and ask for a written report.. and recommendations.. and come back here.. and discuss it with us ...

i have known to many peeps.. who get all tied up in spending money to save things .. trees.. that should be cut down ... most things.. and i am not saying yours at all ... that affect a tree of size .. are NOT treatable .. and the money is better spent in disposal ... because.. after all the treatments fail.. guess what.. you end up paying again .. to remove it ...

man i am having trouble saying what i mean ... if its rotted.. who cares what caused the rot ... you can NOT repair or stop the rot .... is that any plainer .. so treating it for some primary pathogen does absolutely nothing for the rot that is already there ... and if it is going to fall on the house and kill you in your sleep... then removal is the only option .. in my world

very simply.. ID the extent of rot .. and then remove the problem.. if any ...

good luck


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 4:17PM
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Thanks, the arborist is coming tomorrow. After reading online, I know it must be removed. Just that trunk/tree alone will fall onto the driveway, but if others around it are affected, they pose a larger threat, but even having anything fall on a driveway is a threat of course.

Right now the big question is whether just the one tree is affected or whether the group of four share a root structure (or another is affected).

You can click on the pic below to see the four trees

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 5:47PM
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Like Ken said, "telephone poled" although I'll bet it wasn't so much planted improperly as it had fill placed around it later in its life. Had it been planted that much too deeply, I doubt it would have achieved this size.

Also correct' there is no remedy. Ganoderma is more opportunist than primary pathogen and in this case, the tree was predisposed to problems of root/butt rot by having had the fill soil placed up and over its root flare zone. Get it out of there!


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 5:59PM
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Thanks guys, I've come to the conclusion everyone has here. I'll share the results from the professional tomorrow for your feedback.

This area of Austin has a lot of trees like this (telephone poled I guess you call it). There are a few huge Oaks, but most oaks in the surrounding area are this size, even in the wildlife areas.

My neighbor told me that when they built homes in the area, they had to mow down some trees, etc, and they wounded a lot of trees that later died after the people moved in. The home is now 10 years old so the death of trees appeared to be over, but I guess not.

Like I said, I'm hopeful that it's just isolated to this tree, as I had planned to remove it at some point in the next few years anyways as it hangs too low over the driveway, however, based on my research, I fear the root structure may be too close to mixed with the other trees near it, so we'll see.

I'm sure I'll get a quote for removal price, but what would you anticpate a fair estimate to be, I don't even have a ballpark figure in my head. I've heard $2500-3000 to remove huge oak trees that are really tall, like 75-100', but this tree is probably in the 20' tall category, but it'll likely have to be roped down, but access would be easy and there isn't any major obstructions. Whether I need to remove just the one tree or all four near it probably makes a large difference.

I'd like to thank all for the valuable wisdom and spending the time to share your thoughts.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 7:48PM
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Also, sorry I think I know what you mean by telephone poled now. You mean the root flare is gone (or underground) and it sticks out of the ground like a telephone pole right? Initially I thought it was referring to the skinny and tall shape of the tree, but after re-reading your comments, it makes sense now.

It seems that regrettably, all of my trees in the entire yard are affected by this syndrome, as are my neighbors'.

From my research, this Ganoderma is caused not by mold/rot from water, but from spread of fungus through pollination or contact through wounded areas of the tree (e.g. dirty chainsaw, dirty pruning, or pruning in the season where the Ganoderma pollinates from a near tree). All the online sources say the best prevention from this is to keep trees healthy and wound tree and to only prune in dormant seasons.

I'll have to investigate the root flare issues. Although my street is new at 10 years, the rest of the neighborhood is 30+ years old, and dying oaks is not what I'd call a prevalent issue out here.

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 8:10PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

The home is now 10 years old so the death of trees appeared to be over, but I guess not.

==>>> EXACTLY what i was talking about..

we think of things in minutes.. and hours..

when we start talking about a tree dying.. we can easily be talking decades ... life just doesnt move that fast for an organism.. that can live a century or two ...

what we have provided.. is talking points for you to discuss with the professional ...

we gave you the ability.. hopefully.. to guide the conversation as to the ultimate decision ... instead of him going on and on.. while all you think about is what you are going to do.. when the tree is gone.

from what little we have seen of the house.. and i will yell.. YOU CAN DO SO MUCH BETTER ... and we will be awaiting that post..

please do let us know what the local pro has to say..


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 9:02PM
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Thanks, I feel more comfortable talking to him now than I would've without this thread.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 9:09PM
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Hey U, I wouldn't think that would be a very expensive removal job. Yes, if all the trees in that grouping are taken down, then a little more, but these aren't really big trees. Any competent arborist could have it done quick and clean.

You are correct about what we refer to by the term "telephone poled", that it is either the lack of a visible root flare because the tree was planted too deep-very common-or as is more likely in your neighborhood, a formerly wooded area was converted into subdivision and much fill was spread around on top of the old grade.

One way to think of a tree is that it's a large energy storage system. All the wood in the trunk, roots, and branches are stored energy. Wood is in fact a very complex form of sugar! Anyway, this is what Ken alludes to in the long time frame of tree decline and death following injury. It really can and does take years for the full effect of these ill-considered developments to manifest. By then, the developer has long since cashed his checks and the homeowners with "wooded lots" are left with problems.......big problems. It sucks and is easily one of my biggest peeves.


    Bookmark   June 4, 2012 at 11:00PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

and.. not yet mentioned.. is if they were there.. when the house was built.. with backhoes.. bulldozers.. etc.. excavated the property.. compaction of soil.. and crushing of roots was probably the beginning of the whole process ...


    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 1:33PM
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Ken, yeah I mentioned that condition in one of my earlier posts. Builders don't prioritize savings the trees when they're trying to build a home in record time.

I'm still awaiting the call and report from the arborist.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 2:31PM
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Here is the report from the arborist. As confirmed here, the tree has Ganoderma. He said, it's only a matter of time, but looking at it externally and looking at the branches and foliage, it's still in "really good shape, but it still has ganoderma and it's just a matter of time." He showed no urgency in removing it, but also said it was completely our decision.

As far as the other trees, he didn't find any ganoderma externally, but due to the close proximity, the trees are probably sharing nutrients and root systems are probably overlapping (can't remember his exact words, but to that effect). He couldn't say for certain that they have decay or would ultimately decay, but there's a good possibility one day they'll succumb to the same fate due to their proximity. He said it's possible that they'll be ok, but he sounded more like that would be a lower probability. He wasn't the most direct, matter-of-fact guy, but I think he really wanted us to make the decision. I tried to ask him how long it would last, and he said, could be 6 months, could be 2 years. I asked if it could be like 10 years, and he seemed cautious to confirm it was only a possibility.

I'm leaning towards having it removed, mainly for the economic reason. He quoted $250 to remove it and $150 to have the stump removed. His site visit today cost $160, and if I use their service to remove the tree within 30 days, I get my $160 applied towards the removal fee. So since one day I'll have to remove it anyways, today, I'm basically getting it done for $160 less, not to mention, that particular tree is somewhat a pain in the *** due to it hovering low over my driveway.

He will be emailing me the full report and removal quote tomorrow, but I don't expect any more pertinent information to come from that.

I'd love your guys' thoughts.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:26PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

so if i read it right.. 90 more bucks to be done with it???

i would suggest that would cost about 350 out here ...

need i say much more???

He wasn't the most direct, matter-of-fact guy ===>> imagine the conversation if we hadnt briefed you in advance ...

he said, could be 6 months, could be 2 years. I asked if it could be like 10 years, and he seemed cautious to confirm it was only a possibility. ===>>> no he isnt going to climb out that branch... and have you come back in 5 years.. and said he promised it wouldnt fall ...

sounds like he was pretty much on the up and up ... and i like the full credit of the exam.. if you act soon ...

the only question left now.. is the rest of them ... if he has to come back every other year to remove one of them at
$250 .... or whether he will take them all now for $500 ... or something.. once the guy is there.. the cost should fall fast ... kids buggin me.. does that make any sense???? .. if not i will check in tomorrow morn ...

on my 5 acres.. i leave stumps cut flush ... i suppose that isnt an option for you???? you might want to check sources for grinding alone.... you MIGHT do better on that price ...


    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:36PM
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The cost to remove and grind is $400. The cost of the site visit was $160. I have to pay the $160 within 30 days. So it's either I pay $400 and have the tree removed and be done with everything (for now), or pay $160 now and $400 whenever I determine to remove it.

Like you mentioned, I've been thinking of maybe removing them all, but their location, the shade it provides and the look it gives my front yard are worth chancing it to keep them. If another one gets diagnosed Ganoderma, at that point I'll cut losses and have all three removed.

It's a gamble I'm willing to take, and I understand the odds aren't in my favor, but we really do like the trees and what they give to our landscape.

I attached a picture of the home from street view, you can see the trees over the driveway. Again, it's that furthest right one that has been diagnosed which is also the lowest.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 8:51PM
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