Understanding Armillaria Root Rot Tree Disease
Considered the most destructive and widespread disease spread by pathogens, Armillaria root rot disease attacks the root and base of a tree. Armillaria root rot disease commonly affects Canadian forests. The disease starts with a ground fungus that invades healthy roots by sending out filaments. The disease then moves upward through the root collar and tree trunk. As the disease spreads throughout the tree it causes sapwood decay where the infection is, leading to the death of the tree. The cause of death for an infected tree is often a result of the sap flow being cut off or windthrow (the act of wind uprooting a tree or breaking it in half). This particular tree root rot disease is caused by none other than the fungus Armillaria. The fungus can remain alive for many years, either in rotting wood or simply in the ground. Although fungus is notorious for living on decomposing wood, Armillaria attacks healthy living trees as well.
Revealing Signs of Root Rot
External symptoms aren’t always visible, but here are few things to look for if they are. The tree’s wellness will begin to fade, marked by yellowing foliage that eventually turns brown. If you were to pick away the bark, rotting, pale brown wood will be revealed. There will also be the presence of black mycelia attacking cords. Eventually, the wood will yellow and then turn white while becoming soft, spongy, and string-like. The fruiting bodies themselves have darkish scales on the caps and yellowish gills. The bodies produce spores that are carried away by the wind, spreading infection elsewhere.
The Danger in Root Rot
Trees can often appear healthy but are in fact rotting away at the roots — trees in your yard, on your street, at your favorite campsite, or other places you enjoy spending your time. The bases of infected trees are weak which makes each a perfect candidate for windthrow. This event can be hazardous to nearby structures, as well as human and animal life. In addition, leaving trees untreated for root rot disease could easily result in the spread of infection to other trees, perpetuating the problem. If you have a hazardous Armillaria root rot disease problem, seek professional help through Caledon Treeland at 905-880-1828.
Caledon Treeland services the following areas:
- Central and Southern Ontario