4 Ways to Identify Tree Fungi in Richmond, VA

If there is one thing that can put the fear into the hearts of any tree specialist, it is a tree fungus. Especially in Virginia, tree fungi can lead to the total devastation of your trees and even the other plants in your yard. When you keep it untreated, the fungus will render your tree ugly, sick, and dangerous. Eventually, the tree will become weak and is more susceptible to other problems, infestations, and even falling. The flow of water and nutrients becomes weak, leading to a tree that won’t perform as it should, even if it appears healthy.

All tree care professionals are trained to spot tree fungus quite easily. However, most won’t spot it until something has already gone wrong with your tree. It is up to homeowners, building owners, and the general public to spot a tree fungus before it becomes a real problem. That is why everyone in Richmond, VA needs to know the most common signs of tree fungus:

4. Softs Spots are Signs

  • Could Be a Sign of Something Else
  • Be Gentle with the Wounds
  • Start Checking at the Bottom First

One of the best ways to tell if something is wrong with your tree? Don’t use your eyes, use your fingers. Softening of the bark or the branches of the tree can be a sign that fungus has invaded the bark. Since you are supposed to check your trees regularly, make sure to touch the tree as well. Some barks are softer than others, so you’ll have to get used to the different feelings

According to Michigan State University, softening of the bark isn’t always a fungus, but it can be. It is common to find fungus problems along the base of the trunk or even into the root systems, so you want to start your investigation there. One important note is to be gentle, because you can harm your tree if you push into the bark and create a wound.

3. Splotches are Serious

  • Shoot and Foliar Diseases
  • Know Your Trees
  • Check Stems Regularly for Earliest Identification

Fungus problems aren’t always found on the trunk of the tree. It is also an issue we spot on stems and leaves of the tree. Look for any growths along the leaves or needles, as this is a sign that something is wrong. White spots that wipe off easily but come back or brown/black bubbles on the stems and the leaves themselves can also be a sign of problems. Each one is different and requires a different type of treatment, according to the University of Minnesota.

Do not overlook this problem, because it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it can be a huge problem for many people. Start with the lower branches of the tree and then work your way up, looking for problems. The most common signs of the fungus will show up on the inner leaves first.

Understanding your tree and knowing that the “normal” appearance is will help you to find any fungus problems. Some splotches and bumps are normal, but some aren’t, and it pays to know the difference.

2. Wound Watching

  • Fungus Spreads More Easily Through Wounds
  • Canker Diseases Found in Wounds
  • Discoloration or Softening Possible

If you have a fungus problem, it is likely that the fungus started within a wound. A tree wound comes from “broken branches; impacts, abrasions and scrapes; animal damage; insect attack; fire; etc. Wounds usually break the bark and damage the food and water conducting tissues,” according to AgriLife. They also tend to be where a tree fungus will develop. Make sure to check these wounds regularly to spot any problems. If you don’t have time to check all wounds, start with the lowest ones and work your way up.

There are many different types of fungi that can develop on your tree, and almost all of them will focus on the weakest portions of the tree. These tend to work quickly and attack the infrastructure of your tree. If you aren’t diligent, the problem can get extremely bad extremely quickly. Spot fungi in the wounds by looking for areas that are darker or soft. You might even feel a bit of moisture in the wound that can signal the proper environment for fungus.

1. Mushrooms

  • Understand Different Types
  • Not Always a Sign of Tree Problem
  • Requires Action Immediately

One of the most common signs of tree fungi in Richmond, VA are mushrooms. While many people tend to think of mushrooms as extremely cute or even funny little structures, they are also a sign that something is off with the chemistry of your yard. Mushrooms that show up along the base of your tree, or even in the shade of your tree, can be a sign that there is a fungus among us. Even if you cut the mushrooms when you mow the lawn or pull them off of the tree, the problem won’t go away.

One mushroom quickly turns into two, which quickly multiply into many. However, it only takes a few to really compromise your tree’s health. According to Home Guides, mushrooms are often seen as the angels of death for trees.

Having a fungus on your tree isn’t always a huge problem, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore it either. It is better to be safe and contact a tree care professional to clean up your tree. Most tree care professionals will be able to solve the problem without eliminating the tree from your yard. In fact, it can extend the lifetime of your tree by many years.

At Ridgeline Tree Service, our goal is to keep your trees, your yard, your home, and your family safe. This means eliminating the amount of fungus in your yard. We will work with the natural chemistry of your yard and find the best way to eliminate any pests or problems. We’ll visit your home and inspect your trees, which can give you the peace of mind if we don’t find anything or keep your trees healthy if we do. Give our team a call at (804) 378-2900 to get started.

Header Photo Courtesy of Katja Schulz on Flickr!


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