All trees are susceptible to the development of fungal diseases. Root and butt rot are two diseases that commonly affect the oak tree. These diseases cause reproductive bodies of fungus to form around the tree's base.
Root and butt rot diseases commonly affect short-lived species and older trees. These diseases are caused by various types of fungi, such as Armillaria. Root rot and butt rot can cause affected trees to suffer from advanced decay, making the tree unstable and susceptible to blowdown.
One important clue that root rot disease is present in trees is the presence of fungi at the base of the tree. These fungi may appear as conks, bracket fungi or as a shelf. Mushrooms at the base of trees are another indicator of root rot disease. This fungus can also be found several feet away from the tree, because it is a result of root decay. Generally, the more fungal bodies present at the tree's base, the greater the decay of the wood.
Prevent root rot disease by keeping trees healthy. Avoid wounding the tree during pruning as this promotes disease. Remove any tree you suspect has root rot to avoid blowdown accidents.
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