En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - October 04, 2007

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Bracket fungus on live oaks
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Cedar Park and the house we just bought has 4 native live oaks growing in the front yard. On two of the live oaks there are bracket fungi growing at their base. Each tree just produced two new brackets in the past two weeks. I was told that bracket fungus can eventually kill a tree and that they should be cut down eventually. My questions are: Is this that serious and can it spread to my other oaks and how quickly can it cause the trees to decline. Also how do live oaks get this pathogen and is there anything I can do to prevent it. Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

ANSWER:

Indeed, some bracket fungi can be harmful to your trees. The bracket part on the outside is the fruiting body that will produce spores to form other fungi. Its presence indicates that the vegetative part of the fungus, called the mycelium, consisting of interconnected thread-like structures, is living inside the tree. The mycelium invades the tree where it absorbs part of the tree's nutrients and can also alter the internal architecture of the tree. The tree could eventually be killed by the spread of the mycelium inside it. Although healthy trees can usually resist the fungus, it can enter the tree through pruniing wounds or other injuries. You can read more about the parasitic bracket fungus in Wood Decay Fungi on Living Trees from the University of Massachusetts.

As Mr. Smarty Plants sees it, you need to identify the fungus on your tree and determine whether it is an agressive parasitic bracket fungus. You will also want to learn the best way to remove the fruiting body to keep spores from finding a place in other trees and to find out if there is a way to kill the mycelium growing inside the tree. In order to do this Mr. SP suggests you contact one (or all) of the following:

1. The Texas Forest Service. They also have an Ask the Experts page.

2. The Williamson County Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service

3. A professional arborist. You can find individuals who have earned the right to be called professional arborists by searching on the web sites of the following organizations:

Tree Care Industry Association, American Society of Consulting Arborists and International Society of Arboriculture .

 


 

 

More Trees Questions

Bark flaking off oaks in New Braunfels, TX
April 12, 2010 - We have several large clusters of oak trees. Some of the trees are losing their bark. The bark is flaking off in fairly large pieces; even on some of the trees that are leafing out. Is this a result o...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a magnolia tree in Avon IN
July 04, 2009 - We moved in our house a couple of years ago,We have a small Magnolia tree, well, looks like a bush right in front of our porch. We want to move it but do not know the best time to move. Can you tell m...
view the full question and answer

Non-native mimosa failing to bloom in Leitchfield KY
October 29, 2011 - I have a medium size mimosa tree here in KY that usually blooms beautifully; it did not bloom at all this year. It leafed out well, needs a few dead limbs pruned, but seems otherwise healthy. Please t...
view the full question and answer

Planting Live oak trees in Katy, TX.
November 03, 2012 - We are building a house in a neighborhood where the HOA requires two live oaks in the front yard. Our lot is pie shaped leaving a very small front yard once you take into acct the driveway and sidewal...
view the full question and answer

Lighting for the Wildflower Center from Austin
December 16, 2012 - Hello Mr Smarty, On a recent night trip to the Center, there was an oak that was beautifully lit for the holidays. It seemed to come from one ground light, but cast hundreds of glistening "stars"...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center