Tree safety and fungi
When a tree starts to die back in the canopy, perhaps fewer leaves and more deadwood, then a problem has started within the either main tree trunk or tree root area.
You may find over time the tree is dropping branches and then there is a risk of injury to persons and or property damage.
You as a tree owner have a duty of care to manage your trees. There is national guidance and a lay person’s view is not exempt from legal scrutiny.
In this case, the birch tree canopy had been dying back and dropping branches over a garden where children play. But the real risk of the tree was at the base where Kretzschmaria duesta was found as seen in the image above. This causes unexpected brittle fracture of the tree base which may cause the whole tree to fail.
In this case, the only way to work on the tree is by using access systems such as cherry picker as the is too unsafe to climb.
One important aspect of the tree and fungi relationship is the role of fungi in promoting tree safety. Fungi are capable of detecting and combating harmful pathogens that can infect trees and lead to disease and decay. When a tree is attacked by a pathogenic fungus, the mycelium of other fungi in the vicinity can identify the threat and mount a defence against it. The defence mechanism employed by the fungi involves producing chemicals that inhibit the growth of the pathogenic fungus. This chemical warfare helps protect the tree from infection and ensures its continued growth and survival. In some cases, certain fungi have even been found to directly attack and parasitize pathogenic fungi, effectively eliminating them from the environment. What are the potential dangers of fungi on trees? How can fungi promote tree safety? How can a tree owner ensure the health of the tree root zone
The health of the tree root zone at the base of the tree is vital. Uncompacted and healthy soil. No contamination and soil volume for tree root growth. Mulching to around 5cm depth around the circumference of the tree trunk. The use of air spades, biochar, and mulching is key to a healthy root zone.
Fungi also play a crucial role in maintaining the structural
integrity of trees.
As trees age, their heartwood, located in the centre, becomes less functional and loses its ability to transport water and nutrients. This process, known as heart rot, can weaken the tree and make it more susceptible to breakage or collapse during storms or other adverse weather conditions.
This can be detected with tree safety surveys and requires expert opinion
However, certain fungi can degrade the heartwood without compromising the structural integrity of the tree. By selectively decomposing the non-living tissues, these fungi help to hollow out the core of the tree, creating hollow cavities that reduce the weight.
The key is if uncertain call or send in an image of the tree and fungi, which in autumn become seasonally more common.