‘Tree Fungus’ Category

How To Identify and Control Honey Fungus

WHAT IS HONEY FUNGUS

As the name suggests Honey fungus is a fungus. It exists primarily on dead plant material, but can also become a parasite feeding on live plant and tree roots. It attacks a wide variety of plant life ranging from trees to bulbs.

HONEY FUNGUS AMAZING FACT

A mushroom colony can reach an enormous size and cover a very large area. Recently, a variety of the honey mushroom was identified in Oregon, USA which had colonized 880 hectares of wood in about 2300 years (and thereby killed a large number of trees) and it’s weight exceeds that of any other living organism in the entire world!

IDENTIFYING HONEY FUNGUS

The first symptom you will probably notice with plants and trees affected by Honey Fungus is general ill-health. Leaves do not grow so well, are discoloured and fruit is small. Surprisingly, flowering plants may produce larger than normal flowers immediately before they die back completely.

Then you will notice white to cream honey-coloured growths of the Honey Fungus appearing in the soil around the base of the plant / tree – see the above picture. These growths are fan-shaped.

When you pull the plant up, there will probably be dark brown rhizomorphs which look like brown to black root-like growths which resemble bootlaces. In advanced cases these root-like growths appear above the soil level. In many cases, beneath the bark of the trunk and branches you will see white mycelium. These form a thin creamy-white layer with a strong mushroom smell.

CAUSE OF HONEY FUNGUS

Honey Fungus is caused by direct contact with the roots of an infected plant or tree. It is also caused by the rhizomorphs (see above for explanation) spreading underground from the infected plants to other healthy plants.

Some plants are more vulnerable to catching Honey Fungus whilst others are relatively resistant to it. The list below shows some common plants in these categories. It is true that healthy plants are less likely to be attacked by Honey Fungus compared to plants which are weak and growing in poor conditions.

CONTROL OF HONEY FUNGUS

The is no chemical treatment for Honey Fungus. The only course of action is to dig out all infected plants and burn them. OR GRIND THE STUMP OUT!!! Try to remove as much of the root system as possible because this is where the disease is most easily transmitted to other plants. Honey fungus can be prevented by removing tree stumps or other dead woody material such as roots from the soil, for example by mechanical stump-grinding. Killing stumps chemically is often not sufficient. Healthy growth of woody plants in the garden should be encouraged by correcting any drainage problems and adequate feeding and mulching. There is often concern that honey fungus can live on woody mulches, especially when the rhizomorphs are seen under the mulch. It is in fact quite safe to use woody mulches where honey fungus is present.

For smaller areas a degree of further control can be achieved by removing the top 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 foot) of soil and replacing it with infection free soil.

When replanting, choose plants that are resistant to Honey Fungus  and definitely avoid those most susceptible to Honey Fungus . Keep plants as healthy as possible by regular mulching and feeding.