July 16

4 Ways to Identify Tree Fungi in Indianapolis

Tips, Trees


Tree fungi is a problem that most people aren’t aware of until it is too late – the fungi take hold of their trees and causes devastation. Most people in Indianapolis have had fungi cause problems for their trees, but either have not realized that is what caused the problem or haven’t had tree fungi that were so bad that it caused a huge problem. However, with the way that the climate has been, tree fungi in Indianapolis is a growing problem that we need to tackle.

If you don’t treat tree fungi, you are opening yourself up to problems into the future with not only that specific tree, but other trees and plants as well. Even if your tree appears healthy, fungi can be attacking everything that makes it survive. Tree care professionals are trained to handle problems with tree fungi, but most homeowners aren’t able to spot the signs until it is too late. Here are just a few that you might want to pay attention to:

4. Strange Wounds

Broken tree with fungi favored wound.

Credit: Nerissa’s Ring
  • Darker Bark Symbolizes Problems
  • Be Careful When Touching Wounds
  • Start Low and Move Up

Every time you take care of your tree, every time animals run around it, and even when the wind blows, your tree gets wounds. Typically, these wounds aren’t a big deal and don’t cause too many problems. Unfortunately, wounds are also great breeding grounds for fungi. The decay and tree mechanisms in place to heal the tree aren’t always strong enough to hold up against fungi, which means they can get into the tree that much more easily. All of the wounds, especially the newest ones, should be checked, according to the Morton Arboretum.

Each different type of fungi has a different approach to infiltrating your tree. However, they will all find the weakest portions of the tree and enter there, which tends to be w here trees are wounded either directly or indirectly. As the tree fungi feed on the tree itself, they will get stronger and attack the other parts. Stopping them in infancy is the best approach to saving your tree

3. Yard Moisture

Tree with a moisture problem.

Credit: Ms. Barrows
  • Watch Areas Around Ponds and Pools
  • Avoid Rain Runoff and Watering Infected Plants
  • Purchase Moisture Monitors

Your yard has a certain level of moisture in it, but those moisture levels can change by the foot. During the summer months, it is going to be more humid than during other times of the year, making it the perfect time for fungi to grow. Having a pool, a pond, or other water features will only increase your risk of having fungi show up on your trees. Anywhere that has an opening (such as wounds) and absorbs the moisture will have problems.

According to the Canadian Journal of Botany, summer months when we water our trees with sprinklers, hoses, or overhead watering, we will end up with more risk for diseases. All diseases can be spread by water, including fungi. Monitoring the moisture levels will help you to determine whether you have the risk factors for tree fungi.

2. Beware Soft Spots

Fungi on tree.

Credit: M. Shattock
  • Do Not Use Fingernails or Pierce the Tree
  • Wash Hands Thoroughly After Dealing with Tree
  • Start from the Bottom Upwards

Twice a year or so, you are supposed to check over your trees. When you are looking at or pruning your trees, reach out and actually touch them. This will allow you to know what your tree feels like, since there are different consistencies. Apply gentle pressure to suspicious areas and see if you have softness. If you do, it is a sign that you may have fungi already there or you are susceptible to one.

Look, particularly, at areas that are darker or discolored. They may even feel wet or damp, according to the University of California. Do not press too hard, because you may create wounds that have even more problems. Never use your fingernail or a tool to press against the wood.

1. Mushrooms

Mushrooms growing on trees.

Credit: Rusty Clark
  • Fungi Had Advanced
  • Act Quickly to Save Tree
  • Take Pictures or Keep on Tree

The biggest sign that you have fungus? Mushrooms – they are the physical embodiment of the diseases on your Indianapolis tree. While most people don’t think that mushrooms are a huge problem, it shows that there is something going on beneath the surface of your tree. It can be on the trunk or branches of your tree or it can be on the root system of the trees. If this is the case, mushrooms appear under the cover of the trees.

A few mushrooms here and there isn’t a problem, but once you have a lot, you might want to contact a professional. According to the USDA, “Many mushrooms can be identified only by examining the color of spore prints or by examining spores and tissues under a microscope. As mushrooms age, changes in their shape, color, and general appearance make it necessary to examine several individuals for their distinguishing features,” which means that you sincerely need a professional if you have a lot of mushrooms.

Having tree fungus does not mean that there is a huge problem that is going to devastate your tree. If there is something that is wrong, most tree professionals should be able to help you get your tree back to its healthy state without having to eliminate it. However, if the fungal infection is too far once you get a professional to it, there is a chance that you may have to eliminate one tree to save the rest of your trees.

At Menchhofer Tree Care, we are your first line of defense against tree fungi in Indianapolis and the people to call if you have problems with tree fungi at any stage. We will try to keep your tree free of fungus and eliminate it if we need to. We handle all aspects of tree care, including helping you solve this problem. The sooner you can tackle the issue, the better. Give us a call at (317) 661-4240 to get started today.

Header Photo Courtesy of Isaac Wedin on Flickr!

Menchhofer Tree Care

About Steve Menchhofer

Steve Menchhofer has been caring for the trees of the Indianapolis, Indiana metro area for over 40 years. Steve and his team of experienced, certified arborists are members of the International Society of Arboriculture and the Indiana Arborist Association.

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