Mushrooms on Tree roots

asppOctober 5, 2013

I have a VERY large white oak located right at my front door that has mushrooms growing at the base, and around the base. I had heard this may be an indicator of poor tree health, so am hoping someone can advise - picture attached.
Because of the proximity to my house I have been careful about monitoring, but most of the tree services around here are more interested in cutting than diagnosing. There has been no recent damage to the tree. Thoughts?

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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

You have done well to monitor it.

My untrained eye associated mushrooms on wood with "conks" or rot.

White oak is a highly regarded tree. Not the same as the silver maples I cut down when their bases began to rot.

What part of Jersey are you in? Perhaps someone local knows a good company to refer you to. I bet folks want a pic of the whole tree as well.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 6:29PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

but most of the tree services around here are more interested in cutting than diagnosing.

==>>> thats becasue you are talking to guys who own saws ..

you need a tree doctor.. an isa certified arborist ...

the pic of the shrooms does little for us.. can you step back and get a pic of the greater area...

take a hand trowel in there.. and find out what they are growing in.. are they attached to the tree .... or perhaps some other mulch or decaying matter ...

how close is this thing to the house??? .. how about a pic of the whole situation.... if you want advice on your monitoring skills ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: here is a start for you ... even google confusing tree trimmers with arborists ....

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 8:58PM
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aspp

Thanks for the responses ��" much appreciated. Attached is a photo taken a bit further out, and I'll attach another one in the morning when it's light out. It's a magnificent tree, about eight stories, and I need to protect it.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 11:18PM
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wisconsitom

Aspp, fungi like that do indeed signal some internal decay. Now here is where it gets weird: They're not the primary cause of whatever's ailing the tree, but rather, are like secondary invaders. A tree can stand for decades as a hollow cylinder-a very strong shape. But it does tell you some degree of decay is present.

I know of big white oaks in parks here that sprout a nice flush of chicken of the woods and other shelf fungi every year. They're not generally falling over, the trees I mean.

+oM

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 12:22AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

They're not the primary cause of whatever's ailing the tree, but rather, are like secondary invaders. A tree can stand for decades as a hollow cylinder-a very strong shape. But it does tell you some degree of decay is present.

==>> hey tom.. may i clarify what you said... do correct me if i am wrong ..

they are not a secondary INVADER ... they are composters.. that are using already rotten wood .... akin to a compost pile ... and i mean.. they USE STUFF... they dont hover around in the dark.. invading.. like bugs might ...

and as to hollow cylinders ... a micro burst tore thru tecumseh MI last year.. took out dozens of what i would guess were 150 year old oaks.. all hollow.. all within 20 feet from the house ... only one guy lost.. when it fell on his house... bet he would have gotten rid of that stately old tree ... i was really surprised.. they were ALL hollow.. not a single healthy tree went down ...

HOW FAR IS THIS THING FROM YOUR HOUSE??? at 80 feet.. and with the density of the wood... gravity dictates that branches achieve ground fall .. house be damned...

its not really about you wanting to save it..

its about it killing you or your family ... [i am not really concerned about the neighbors.. lol]

i know this isnt what you want to hear... but i cant let it go by.. without someone saying it ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 11:25AM
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krnuttle

In considering ken_adrian response remember the age of the trees ( 150 year old oaks) and what he said about "dozens" in the town.

Will you spend 150 years living under the tree or 10 years enjoying the majesty of the tree. It is all about probabilities,

Personally I would accept the risk and keep the tree (assuming the base has not rotted away), rather than spend the several thousand to take it out, and another 500-1000 to plant a new tree that would be big enough for my great grandchildren to enjoy

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 1:34PM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

Thats a decent number of shrooms. Have it looked at by the certified arborists.

Talking about odds...

If there is a 10% chance a tree will fall into my home this year that is too high for me..... Now depending on your marriage you might want to play the odds it will get the wife or husband instead of you. But think about the kids!

Or your insurance company's bottom line lol.

No really. Hire the arborist and see if this big tree is in the last decade of its life.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 2:46PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Different fungi have different life cycles, finding out what kind these are would tend to point to what may have been going on. If it is an Armillaria (the fan shape of some of the mushrooms in each cluster may indicate another kind) then that could be damning - in California these have been called oak root fungus because of existing oaks on sites brought into cultivation becoming infested and destroyed.

It should also be possible to dig down and see if they are on the roots. If they are indeed decomposing the roots then at some point the tree will suddenly go over, due to its anchorage having been reduced to the point where it is no longer adequate to support the weight of the top. The mushrooms being present may indicate that the fungus has been at work for some time.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Genus Armillaria - Honey Mushrooms

This post was edited by bboy on Sun, Oct 6, 13 at 15:08

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 3:03PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

I'm not sure what's pictured is an issue. If it was directly on the wood, it'd be a concern, but on the surrounding ground?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 9:43AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i will clarify ...

i have had mushrooms pop out of scat ...

i dont know if it was raccoon.. or ground hog ...

but until you find out what the shrooms are growing in.. the conversation is moot...

we are all presuming wood ... but there is a very small chance.. its not the tree ...

of course.. if someone IDs the shroom for sure.. that might tell us also.. i think someone above guessed....

ken

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 10:54AM
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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I have cut down a good number of large trees in the last decade. More of my "yard" mushrooms are over where I would assume the naturally decomposing roots are.

If this tree were out in the middle of my yard I would let nature take its course. I find beauty in old trees which may be past their prime and don't see many in suburbia. The OP seemed like a polite enough person I would like to keep around so I recommended the tree be inspected as it seemed like the tree was over their home.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 3:19PM
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aspp

Picture says it all re: proximity to the house. Arborist will be coming within the week. Thank you all for your advice.

(Photo removed by user)

This post was edited by aspp on Wed, Oct 9, 13 at 16:21

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 1:29PM
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bboy(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Tree has already had so much pruned away that much of its attraction has been lost. If there was screening planting around the edges that helped created the illusion that the house was a cottage on a larger estate (and tree had not been scalped) then small house with big tree might work; the way it is now the tree is giving the visual impression of dwarfing and menacing the house, and should therefore be removed - even if there might not be a pathenogenic fungal infestation issue.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 2:48PM
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aspp

Not asking for opinions on the aesthetics of my property.

The arborist just came, and the mushrooms are NOT growing out of the roots, but are growing out of the dirt surrounding the roots in all instances.

Thank you all for your interest and willingness to help. My tree will continue to be monitored but for now is staying put.
-aspp

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 3:27PM
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beng(z6 western MD)

aspp, if there's one tree that you can trust near a house, it's a durable & tough white oak. Seen it many times -- had a hundred-footer just off the corner of my house when I lived in VA. The massive ice-storm in 1994 did not damage it -- just flattened out the top crown a bit.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 8:55AM
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