What is Honey Fungus?
Honey fungus, otherwise known as Armillaria is commonly thought to be the largest living organism in the world. Present in the blue mountains of Oregan, where it stretches for miles. Current scientific research suggests that it could be over 8,500 years old here.
There are an estimated six species of Armillaria present in the UK, but really only two cause damage to our plants and gardens. Species mellea and ostoyae are the most deadly, causing root and lower stem rot to otherwise healthy plants, and should be treated straight away to avoid damage to other susceptible plants and trees. In short, it is the fungal disease that causes the most destruction in UK gardens, which includes the death of trees. It is particularly prevalent in the Hampstead and Highgate area and as Tree Surgeons in North London we deal with it regularly. Honey fungus mostly attacks trees and woody stemmed plants, but it can also affect perennials which regrow every spring. Some species of Honey fungus are parasitic getting nutrition from other trees and plants in your garden, but the majority are saprophytic, obtaining nutrients from dead organic matter. It is notoriously difficult to eradicate, therefore it is important to use a bonafide North London tree surgeon to identify the species and eradicate the problem.
How do I recognise Honey Fungus?
Honey fungus can often attack and damage the roots of trees and plants without any visible effects, however it can also be identified by the following:
- The most important distinguishing feature is a thin sheet or layer of a white creamy fungal mycelium that can be seen on the wood at the base or stem of the plant of the plant, just beneath the bark. The area will have a strong mushroom like smell. This will later decay and turn black.
- Often bootlace strands of the structure are visible, these are the rhizomorphs of the fungus. Black in colour, they travel through the soil, often spreading deep below the ground, which is why it is important to treat the problem fast.
- Toadstools that are orangey brown, or honey coloured can also be seen in Autumn.
Taking on board the above information, it is important to contact a qualified tree surgeon if a tree in your garden suddenly dies or if it’s crown starts to look unhealthy. Sometimes, honey fungus weakens a tree so much that it can blow over in a storm. There is chemically no way of eradicating honey fungus, the only way of getting rid of it is by digging out the source and host i.e the roots. Once these have gone completely, the rhizomorphs will not be able to survive. Another important point to remember is not to replant in that same area for at least 12 months. When you do, it is important to consider planting trees that are not susceptible to the dreaded Honey fungus!!!
For further information on Honey fungus identification, tree surgery and advice in North London, including Muswell Hill, Alexandra Palace, Highgate, Hampstead and Crouch End, please contact Clear Cut Trees today...