Plant Diseases

Oak Root Fungus

Oak Root Fungus
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Also called armillaria, shoestring, or mushroom root rot, this disease is active in wet soils, the fungus invades the roots of many plants. Symptoms of the disease vary. The fungus: creamy white, fan-shaped layers, with a strong mushroom odor, growing beneath the bark near or below the soil level. Clusters of honey- colored mushrooms may appear around the base of the tree in fall or winter.
Oak root fungus doesn't spread through the soil; it moves from one tree to another when healthy roots come into contact with infected ones. It can survive for at least 30 years in dead roots below ground.

Target: Primarily woody plants, especially oaks and fruit trees.

Damage: The trunk is girdled. Dull, yellowed, or wilted foliage is usually the first sign of trouble; infected trees usually die back slowly.

Control: Resistant plants, landscape granules.

Notes: There is no cure. Remove dead or badly stricken plants, trying to dig out as much of the roots as possible. You may be able to prolong the life of a plant by uncovering the infected root crown, then leaving it exposed to air and giving little or no water.