Seeing mushroom-like structures growing out of the side of your tree can be both interesting and a bit concerning. Known as brackets, these fungal bodies come in many shapes and sizes, but one fact is always true: they're not a good sign. The appearance of brackets on a tree trunk or large branch is a sign of a serious fungal infection. Here's a closer look.
What causes brackets?
A number of different tree disease can cause bracket formation. A few of the most common ones are Inonotus hispidus, or Ash heart rot, and Ganoderma applanatum, or beech heart rot. Brackets form only once the fungi have worked their way deep into the wood of the trunk. This can take several years or several months, depending on the species of fungi in question. However, by the time brackets appear, you can be sure your tree has been infected for some time.
What are the dangers of brackets?
If a tree is showing brackets on its trunk, butt, or main branches, then that tree is not far from death. As the fungi continue to invade the wood even further, they will restrict the flow of water and nutrients through the tree's vascular tissue. Before long, the branches will not get what they need to thrive. Leaves will die, and the tree will no longer have a way to harness the sun's energy -- leading to the ultimate demise of the tree.
What should you do about a tree with brackets?
If the tree is in an isolated area, far from your home and other structures, then it is generally okay to leave it be and let it die on its own. However, since brackets can weaken the wood and cause the tree to fall at any point, you'll want to have a tree with brackets removed if it is near your home or another important structure.
Removing a tree with bracket fungi is also a smart choice for disease prevention. By removing the tree, you're removing a source of fungal spores, so you're reducing the risk of other trees in the area catching the fungal disease.
If you have brackets forming on one of your trees, contact a tree care expert. They can give you a better idea of which disease is causing the bracket growth, how long your tree has to live, and when would be the best time to remove the tree.
For more information, you will want to contact a company such as Yarnell Tree Co Inc.