Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Texas Mountain Laurel oozing sap in Spicewood, TX.
July 05, 2012 - We have a Texas mountain laurel that seems to be sweating. Oozing sap with no apparent signs of any type of bore holes, or holes made from any birds.
view the full question and answer

Fasciated Texas mountain laurel
November 05, 2013 - I've noticed some strange things hanging off some of the purple mountain laurels in my area. They hang low, and look almost like large, dangling trumpet flowers, but are flat, and have little bumps o...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Esperanza in Houston
July 07, 2009 - Esperanza plant. I have 3 of these plant in my flower bed for the last 10 years. They get west sun. Over the last three years they have bloomed initially but then the new growth is deformed. The best...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in Dakota mock vervain
July 23, 2007 - We just planted some Verbena bipinnatifida in our back yard and when we planted it, it had purple flowers on it but now they've all dried up. We live in central Colorado and thought this plant was fa...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Strawberry Hedgehog cactus from Temple TX
June 03, 2012 - I had purchased a Strawberry hedgehog Cactus (echinocereus stramineus) a few years ago from the Wildflower Center's annual plant sale and planted it then. It has now started to brown from bottom to t...
view the full question and answer

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