Ever noticed something like this on your tree? It is the fruiting body (reproductive portion) of a wood decay fungi. You often hear these called conks, bracket or shelf fungi. This is a definitive indication that some extent of internal wood decay is occurring in this tree.
As the integrity of the wood is a main structural component of a tree, it is important to monitor things like these on your tree and seek out an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist to best assess the extent and future actions that may be needed. Although there is no treatment per say for curing or controlling of wood decay fungi, there are appropriate actions that can be taken to preserve the tree for a period of time depending on people and property below the tree.
Another qualification through the ISA is the Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ). This qualification trains professional arborists on a standardized and systematic process for assessing tree risk and determining appropriate actions. There are many assessments that can be done to assess decay and risk, they include visual inspection, tree sounding, resistograph and others. For those that may be wondering what the last two above are, tree sounding is striking the trunk of the tree with a rubber mallet and listening for a hollow sound indicating potential decay. Resistograph is a specialized tool that involves drilling a tiny diameter drill into various parts of the trunk of the tree and measuring resistance of wood that the drill detects as it goes through. Typically, trees requiring this level of assessment are those that homeowners or property owners have a high level of value to the tree in question.
We are lucky to have two TRAQ qualified arborists on staff, Anne Dalrymple and Matt Ogean. Anne primarily handles our tree risk assessment services as well as tree appraisal services.
In summary, noticing conks or any fungi fruiting body on anything is an indication of decay to some extent. This doesn’t always immediately indicate the need of removing the tree, but utilizing a team of professionals to make the best recommendations for the preservation of the tree and the safety of the people and property below the tree.