Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Tuesday - July 14, 2009

From: Cincinnati, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Yellow-orange fungus on Ash tree in Ohio
Answered by: Nina Hawkins

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a large ash tree which started growing some yellowish orange fungus around the base this spring. With this fungus there are also black bugs with a orange marking near its head and another marking across its lower back section, both running horizontal. They seem to be working on the fungus at times. Do you have any idea what these are, or what to do about them? Thanks a bunch for your time.

ANSWER:

I think the black and orange bug you have is a type of Pleasing Fungus Beetle, probably the Red-banded Fungus Beetle, Megalodacne fasciata that typically feed on bracket fungi, Ganoderma spp.  The bugs themselves are likely only interested in the fungus and pose no harm to the ash tree.  Ganoderma is a wood-decaying fungus that has no cure and will eventually kill your ash tree - though this could take many years.  Since visibility of the brightly colored fruiting body is often indicative of advanced root decay and structural instability, you may want to have the health of the tree evaluated by an arborist if the tree is in a location where it could harm structures or other trees when it falls.  Trees are often infected by fungi when the trunk or lower roots are wounded.  This fact sheet, How to Care for Tree Wounds, by the Ohio State University Extension provides information that may help you prevent other trees on your property from contracting fungal infection.  If the tree is not in danger of harming anything else when it falls, you might enjoy taking the 'live and let die' approach.  As the Pleasing Fungus Beetles you noted are clear evidence of, trees in all stages of decline and death are a rich part of natural habitat and attract a myriad of creatures and insects who rely on them for food and shelter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Reason for die-back of native Mahonia repens
April 01, 2008 - I have several mahonia repens plants planted on my property. This is the third spring for them and I have noticed that they look like they might be dying out. The leaves have turned brown and are cu...
view the full question and answer

Problems with sunflowers in Florida
November 03, 2006 - I planted sunflowers on the west side of my house where I have previously planted them and they grew wonderfully. These new ones, however, seem to be dying, (less than 2 weeks). I bought the plants at...
view the full question and answer

Problems with morning glory in Tennessee.
June 09, 2009 - I recently moved to Tennessee from Michigan. On my property I have a perennial morning glory. This year the leaves are all bubbly, the stems have white hard stuff on them and there is a brown hard t...
view the full question and answer

Green cyst-like growths on Texas persimmon leaves
September 20, 2013 - We have a mature Texas persimmon. We just noticed some green cyst-like growths on the tops of some of the leaves. The undersides of those leaves have black spots where the growths are. They looks like...
view the full question and answer

Bacterial spot in peach tree in McDade TX
February 05, 2009 - I have a Red Globe peach tree which was planted in February 2008. The local agricultural extension agent identified the tree as having Bacterial Spot in November 2008. They recommended copper hydrox...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.