Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Fungi in the Garden

 Many property owners are unaware of the potential risks involved with looking after and maintaining garden trees. However, you are legally responsible for the maintenance of your trees and may be liable to prosecution if damage or injury occurs due to falling timber, irrespective of the circumstances.

So, how can you protect yourself and mitigate your liability?

A simple tree inspection, carried out by property owners is often over-looked, but could offer you a great insight into the general health of your trees. By simply looking at the general condition of the stem, branches and foliage can tell you more than enough to determine if a tree is healthy or not.
The stem should not have any significant cracks, holes or fungal growths. The branches should be free from damage and checked for dead sections. The foliage should have a consistent colour, density and coverage across the tree for the season.

But what are fungal growths, what do they look like and what do they mean to your tree?

There are numerous fungi species in the UK, but the two types below are the most common identified within gardens:

Honey Fungus - Attacks the root system of trees. Look for white fungal growths between the bark and the timber, near the base of the tree, with possible honey coloured toadstools appearing in autumn. Affecting Birch, Beech, Holly and Willow to name a few.

This is the most destructive fungal disease in UK gardens as it continues to feed on the decaying timber after killing it, and spreads through an extensive root system at  1 meter per year. During periods of hot dry weather, sudden autumn colours or dying branches could indicate failure of the root system.

Bracket Fungi are fan shaped growths which appear on the exterior of the tree after developing internally within the heart wood. Less common than honey fungus, they affect Ash, Beech, Walnut, Apple and Elm and appear during spring, summer or autumn, but weakened trees may fail at any time.

Internally, the tree is rotting and may sound hollow when tapped with a mallet. Bracket fungi, reproduces by releasing spores into the atmosphere which are transported by wind to other potential host trees. If you do find and remove these brackets, please keep one to assist your tree surgeon or inspector to determine the health and extent of damage to the affected tree.

Prior to fungal growths appearing, you may notice significant die back of branches and foliage, with occasional branches falling from the tree acting as a prime indicator that the heart wood has already failed. Unfortunately, this fungal disease will require the tree to be removed to prevent injury or damage to property.

If you have any doubt with the condition of your trees, you should contact your local tree surgeon and/or the local council Tree Officer for advice and guidance. For a free no obligation quote for all aspects of tree work in Lymm and surrounding areas call Tree Tamers on 07919544153 or email info@treetamers.co.uk
More specific information regarding Fungi may be obtained on www.rhs.org.uk