A Wet Spring = Summer Fungal Problems
By Micah Pace
ISA Certified Arborist TX-3752
Professional Urban Forester
Qualified Tree Risk Assessor
What happens when record setting precipitation last spring and fall is combined with a relatively wet spring this year? Well, sometimes wet springs don’t only lead to fortuitous flowering. In fact, excessive soil moisture (especially over extended periods) can lead to optimal growing conditions for fungal pathogens that can harm tree root systems and decay wood in trunks or branches. This past May, we began to notice fungal diseases on the rise.
A couple common wood decaying organisms found in the north Texas landscape include armillaria and ganoderma. These wood decay organisms can create serious stress in susceptible trees. Symptoms of fungal decay in trees is often evident by a thinning of the foliage in the tree’s canopy as seen in the picture below.
The redbud in this image is suffering from ganoderma root rot. When diagnosed properly and more importantly, timely, there are several treatment options including soil enhancement through aeration services, and the application of systemic fungicides to help slow the spread of fungal disease. Another symptom that helps to identify these pathogens is the development of fruiting bodies, or mushrooms. The second picture below depicts the conk or mushroom associated with ganoderma on the same redbud.
Having your trees inspected regularly by a trained and experienced certified arborist professional for signs of pest and/or diseases can help detect small problems before they become large ones. This is especially important for large trees since root decay often leads to a loss of structural integrity and heightened risk of tree failure.