does mushrooms on roots mean a tree is dying?

lakedallasmary(8 - North Central TX)July 12, 2007

We have this large ash tree which has large mushroom type things growing on its surface roots. We have been having a ton of rain in north texas, so maybe the mushrooms are just drinking in the extra water, or maybe they are trying to tell me the tree is not long for this world.

Even the mushrooms themselves are growing a type of fungus. fungus on top of fungus, how weird.

Some of the leaves are brown around the edges.

Any opinions?

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Photos would help!


    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 2:14PM
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lakedallasmary(8 - North Central TX)

here is a link to what the mushrooms most look like


    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 3:47PM
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These are growing directly out of roots of this ash tree? How far from the base of the trunk are these? Are they just on one side of the tree or all around? How Many? Did they all appear suddenly this year? Have any of these roots, or the base of the tree been damaged in any way--by being clipped by a lawn mower or anything else? Is there any evidence of old wounds of any kind? Does the tree have any broken branches or large open surfaces where large limbs have been cut off in the past? How high up? Have you even seen any evidence of any kind of seepage from any part of the trunk, especially where there may be some kind of seam or ridge?

One final question--has the soil around this tree been trampled by cattle? Or has the area around this tree been subject to some other kind of heavy use in the past, even if not recently?


    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 9:30PM
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lakedallasmary(8 - North Central TX)

Lots of very good questions.

The mushrooms seem to be growing out of the roots to me. These mushrooms don't seem to have stems. Some are growing in the leaf mulch but I had assumed the roots were right under them.

There are 25 or so mushrooms only on one side of the tree.

I have never seen them before this year. We also have not had so much rain as this though. It rained 13 inches in June alone. We do not mow around this tree since no grass grows there, It is too shady. It is surrounded on two sides by a privacy fence, and one side by the house. It is in the side yard. One fence is our backyard fence and the other is the neighbor's side fence. When we have a bit of sun, some of these mushrooms tend to dry up or rot.

We are in suburb land so I have not seen any rouge cows trampling my tree.

One of the mushrooms is about 6 inches from the trunk, and the furthest one out is about 10 feet out.

Not sure about the wound question. It does not appear so, but it could be that they are damaged. Many of the roots seem to be growing on the surface. The roots tend to criss cross each other.

Yes this tree has been pruned. Its branches get stuck on the side of the house or fence, so some of the lower branches have been removed. Maybe 10-15 feet up.

I see no seepage of any kind. This is our largest tree. Its spread is about 20-25 feet. I do not see bugs either.

We have clay soil but under this tree it is as if either all the clay has been washed away, due to no plants growing under the tree to hold the soil, or the tree is using up all the hummus to survive. The soil is dry and sandy.

Some of the leaves appear a little dried up around the edges, but seems worse on the side with the mushrooms.

The tree has this very large gurdling root what goes halfway around the tree. It may be strangling the tree. The mushrooms are growing where there is more sun, and an the opposite side of the gurdling root.

The arborist, that cut down a cotton wood tree for us, said that the root should have been clipped off when it was planted. He says this happens at the nursery. The tree's roots get pot bound and start to circle around the pot. He said this root would one day kill the tree. As a side note, he said all our trees looked like telephone poles, meaning they all were planted too deep. There is little to no flare to any of our tree trunks. I know they are not growing as fast and healthy as they should but, I would hate to chop them down, just because one day they may die due to lack of oxygen. This rainy year is testing their ability to survive with limited oxygen.

On the leaves that are brown, there is this white substance. I would think from the looks of it, a bug or bacteria or something is making the leave dry up. Most of the trees leaves look fine though.

Maybe the tree is stressed from all this rain we have been having?

I guess it is silly of me to think without seeing the tree or a picture of it, anyone could figure out what is happening.

By the time I took a picture of the tree, and got the pictures developed, and figure out out how to scan the picture, the tree might already be dead.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 1:39PM
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Just curious, do you know what cultivar of ash tree this is?

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 2:52PM
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I asked all these questions to avoid jumping to any conclusion. Normally a fungal fruiting body growing out of a tree root, especially close to the trunk, is cause enough to have a tree removed ASAP where it can pose a hazard. My questions were deisgned to find some confirmation that the problem is fatal. Well, so far, I don't really have that confirmation.

What puzzles me is that so many of these mushrooms appeared all at once. And you have had an unusual rainy period, which often causes a lot of growth of harmless mushrooms.

You need to confirm as carefully as you can that these are growing from the roots. Can you scrape away the soil and see it you see a "stem" of some kind actually coming out of the root that is producing the mushroom? If so, I would collect some of these and take them to your local forest service or ag extension and see if anyone can identify them. I am sorry that I can't.

I hope your tree is OK, but you are smart to be asking the question.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 8:29PM
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The photograph you posted is of a bolete fungus (Boletus, Xerocomus, etc.) that grows in symbiosis with trees, forming a mutually beneficial association with their roots. A positive identification of the precise mushrooms you have would answer a lot of your questions.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 6:30PM
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jqpublic(7b/8a Wake County NC)

A rouge cow would be quite cool. But so would a rogue one! hehe just kidding ;)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2007 at 9:18PM
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