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

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

Possible reasons for death of Wax Myrtle (Morella cerifera) in Austin
April 04, 2006 - Several wax myrtles in my neighborhood appear to have died. Should we have the soil or tree checked for fungus, or should we atrribute the death to freeze or age of the trees?
view the full question and answer

Oak diseases as a result of wet, cool weather
July 25, 2007 - The mature live oak trees in our back yard have been dropping leaves just like they do in March, but this is July! Small to medium spots on the leaves turn brown before they drop. The veins of the l...
view the full question and answer

Pruning oaks in August from Pflugerville TX
April 30, 2011 - Can I do minor pruning on my Lacey oak and bur oak in August if it is hot and dry? I'd like to prune one limb from each. The Lacey oak limb is about 2 inches in diameter, and the bur oak limb is ab...
view the full question and answer

Blackened leaves on purple sage in Utopia TX
December 08, 2010 - I live in Utopia Texas and have a 5-ft. Texas Purple Sage that has developed a black appearance on the leaves. What is this and what can I do about it?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Boulevard Cypress Pom Pom trees in Princeton NJ
October 29, 2011 - I just had some landscaping done near my front door and front yard. I have two Boulevard Cypress B&B (4-5') Pom Pom. The pom poms are turning brown. What should I have been doing? I am watering them ...
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