You’ve likely noticed these shelf like mushrooms growing on tree trunks while walking or hiking through the woods. They can vary greatly in size, shape, color and texture making them interesting to stop and observe. Although they are interesting, they could mean bad news if you spot them on one of your own trees. Here’s what every homeowner should know about conks.
They Develop in Tree Wounds
The fungi enter the tree at an area where there is a wound. The wound could be caused by improper pruning, lightning, windstorms, fire, or construction. Once the decay fungi have set up residence within the tree, it reproduces through fruiting bodies, or conks. The conks develop in old wounds, cracks in the bark, or old branch stubs.
They Are a Sign of Decay
When mushrooms or conks grow on tree bark, it’s often a clue that a rot-inducing pathogen has infected the tree. Many mushrooms are harmful to trees; they cause heart decay, which causes healthy trees to begin to rot inside.
However, once the fungal conks are visible, it’s an indication that there is already decay on the interior of the tree. As the fungal infection grows, it breaks down the cellulose tissue. The cellulose tissue is what holds the tree together. Therefore, it’s no surprise that a tree suffering from rot can be hazardous due to the compromised structure and foundation. It is more likely to break or fall during a wind or ice storm.
The Spores Spreads Easily
The conks produce spores that can be easily spread to nearby wounded trees by way of animals, insects, water, or wind. If you notice conks or mushrooms growing on one of your trees, it’s a good idea to have it assessed by a certified arborist immediately to reduce the opportunity for the spores to infect a neighboring tree. A professional will be able to identify the problem and create a plan.