Our team at Croft Tree Experts in Ottawa often get questions revolving around mushrooms growing on trees:
- Why do mushrooms grow on trees?
- Is it a problem if mushrooms are growing on a tree in my yard?
- Can I eat the mushrooms growing on my tree?
- What does it mean if I have mushrooms growing on my trees?
In this article we’ll answer all of your questions and more!
What Are Mushrooms?
To get a better understanding of how mushrooms affect trees, we need to become familiar with what a mushroom is. Mushrooms are a type of fungus – or the plural version, fungi. The external structure that we see above the ground disperses spores which are involved in the reproduction process of fungi. Not all fungi growing on your tree are harmful, some are actually beneficial, but most mushroom-producing species are decomposers of wood.
Fungi actually play an integral role in the balance of an ecosystem, but if you have them growing on your tree, it’s usually a sign that the tree is unwell. Unfortunately, mushrooms are the main visual indicator that a fungus is present. By the time you spot them, the fungus has likely already built an internal network and has started consuming your tree from the inside.
Our trained team of arborists are able to evaluate and assess the type of fungi growing on your tree in order to recommend the appropriate course of action. Contact Us Today!
How Can Tree Fungus Damage Your Trees?
If your tree has been invaded by a fungus and is growing mushrooms, it usually indicates significant internal damage. Once the fungus spreads throughout the interior of the tree, the tree starts to decompose from the enzymes that the fungus releases. The mushrooms are the reproductive feature of the fungus and they release spores which can spread the fungus to all of your other trees.
Once significant internal damage has been incurred to the tree, the exterior of the tree starts to deteriorates as well and can cause tree limbs to break off. This is a huge concern when the tree is on your property and it puts people in danger, not to mention that it could potentially cause damage to your home as well.
Fungi feed on organic matter and can inflict serious structural damage to a tree before the mushrooms have even become visible. If you have any damage to your tree or suspect a fungal infection, it’s important to call your local arborist as soon as possible.
Trust Croft Tree Experts to provide you with a thorough inspection of your tree. We can identify the mushrooms, the fungal infection, and develop a plan of action to deal with them.
What Kind Of Mushrooms Grow On Trees?
Tree fungi come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The main thing when looking to identify the type of fungi growing on your tree is to look for general shape, size, and texture. It is important to understand the exterior fruiting body to understand what is happening inside the tree – where the fungus is doing most of the damage.
- Cap Fungus: this is the classic type of mushroom that people often picture. This variety can mainly be found on the tree trunk.
- Shelf Fungus: The name says it all. This type of fungus looks like little shelves that protrude from the tree. They come in a variety of colours and textures.
- Jelly Fungus: Usually seen as gelatinous blobs. They are called jelly fungus because of their gooey consistency.
If speaking with an arborist, having any additional information is helpful to plan a potential project for tree removal. Understanding how these mushrooms affect your tree is the next step. Reach out to our team at Croft Tree Experts for more information!
How Arborists Treat Trees With Mushrooms Growing On Them
At Croft Tree Experts, our first goal is to determine whether we can save the tree. We love trees – we’re arborists after all – and the last thing we’d want to do is bring down a living tree unnecessarily.
If the mushrooms are growing on a branch, we can probably cut off the branch and save the tree. Mushrooms at the base or trunk of the tree (or on top of the roots) are a different story. It’s entirely likely that we won’t be able to save the tree. But we’ll come out and take a look!
We also often get asked if the mushrooms growing on your trees are edible. Our first bit of advice is: don’t eat them! They might be edible but they may very well NOT be edible. Don’t take any chances.
Let us give you an assessment of your trees and then you can proceed as you wish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Mushrooms growing on trees indicates that your tree is suffering and is infected by a rot inducing fungus. Once a fungus spreads throughout the interior of the tree, enzymes cause further breakdown and decomposition. By this point, the fungus is already established inside the internal structure of the tree.
Yes. Mushrooms are the fruiting body of different types of fungi and they grow by decomposing a tree for nutrients. Mushrooms will decay the tree from the inside until it dies. This can be dangerous if you have trees in high-traffic areas because their roots and internal structure become compromised. Consult with an arborist to assess your tree and the type of mushrooms that are growing on it.
Although some varieties of mushrooms that grow on trees are not poisonous, it's highly recommended to stay away from eating unknown mushrooms growing on your trees. They can be difficult to identify and also won't taste great either.
If you find mushrooms growing on the trees on your property, leave them there. Removing them might help spread the spores to neighbouring trees. If you notice mushrooms growing on your trees it's best to call a certified arborist. They can help assess the tree properly and identify the best course of action.
Count on the Experts at Croft Tree
At Croft Tree Experts, we handle all sort of tree matters in and around Ottawa. From pruning to felling to assessments of tree health, we are your experienced and trusted source. Contact us today to find out how we can help with your tree needs.