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

Sunday - January 20, 2008

From: Billings, MT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Trees
Title: Possible fungus growing on mountain ash (Sorbus sp. or Fraxinus sp.)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have a mountain ash with something growing several feet off the ground that looks like duckbills or mushrooms. Can you tell me what is wrong with it. We lost one mountain ash tree to something and now this one has developed these growths.

ANSWER:

There are two shrubs/small trees called mountain ash that are native to Montana, Sorbus scopulina (Greene's mountain ash) and Sorbus sitchensis (western mountain ash). Since neither of these grows to be a very large tree, it occurs to me that you may have Fraxinus pennsylvanica (green ash) which also grows in Montana. Whichever it is, it sounds as if your ash tree has been infected by a fungus.

The Pacific Northwest Fungi Database from Washington State University has a list of fungi that affect Sorbus species and Fraxinus species. Many of the fungi cause leaf spotting and cankers. The ones that produce fruiting bodies like those you describe generally indicate that the tree is extensively affected by heart rot. You can read about heart rot in Deciduous Tree Diseases from North Dakota State University (NDSU) Agricultural Extension site. See also the description of "heart rot" under NDSU Parasitic Diseases of Specific Trees for ash trees (Fraxinus spp.).

Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment to cure heart rot in trees. Prevention is the best defense. You can read discussions of treatment and prevention of heart rot and decay from the Florida Department of Agriculture Division of Forestry. The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Department of Plant Pathology says that by the time the fruiting bodies appear the damage to the tree is likely to be extensive. The tree may survive for many years after infection but its structural integrity could be questionable. Your best bet is to have a professional arborist check to see that is sound and, if not, have it removed. You can find a list of professional arborists near you by searching the Referral Directory of the American Society of Consulting Arborists. You might also get a recommendation for an arborist from your County Agricultural Agent. Visit the Montana State University Agricultural Extension web site to find the office closest to you.

Below are some of the fungi associated with Sorbus spp. and Fraxinus spp. that may be indicators of heart rot. Perhaps you will recognize the one that you have seen on your tree.

Fomes fraxinophila (synonym=Perennipiporia fraxinophila)

Fomes igniarius and other Fomes spp.

Polyporous sulphureus

Eutypella sorbi

Ganoderma lucidum, Ganoderma tsugae, Gandoderma applanatum and other Ganoderma species

Piptoporus betulinus

Fomitopsis pinicola

 


Sorbus scopulina

Fraxinus pennsylvanica

 

 

More Trees Questions

Can a fallen tree in Texas have pieces of it removed from Winona TX
October 20, 2012 - I was wondering if you could tell me if a tree has fallen down, is it legal for me to go and cut pieces off of it in the state of Texas. And if you happen not to know could you tell me who I would con...
view the full question and answer

Large oak with possible Laetiporus fungus
November 29, 2011 - We have a huge oak tree in front of our new house. After the first rain this fall a large fungal growth appeared in an old knothole of the tree and I would guess that it is Laetiporus. A neighborho...
view the full question and answer

Spots on non-native naval orange trees from Stockton CA
October 20, 2012 - I have two mature Navel Orange trees. One tree has developed spotty chlorophyl depleted areas that were not on the oranges when they were smaller. In addition, the oranges on both trees are smaller ,...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing evergreens for privacy in Center, TX
March 30, 2010 - I live in East Texas and am looking for a fast growing evergreen for a privacy screen around my backyard. The area gets partial sun and the soil has a lot of clay in it.
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native citrus trees from Mesa AZ
January 13, 2014 - We have one valencia orange tree and one naval orange tree in our Mesa, AZ yard. Just noticed some oranges on both trees have a 1/4 inch diameter hole through the skin and the orange fruit and skin a...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center