Fungi on trees doesn't necessarily mean bad news but the two found around the base of this tree - Kretzschmaria deusta and Meripilus giganteus - unfortunately are. These fungi can enter through the root system and cause extensive decay in the roots and base of a tree without showing many obvious symptoms at first. When Meripilus does show a fruiting body you see large clusters of brackets at the base of the tree or near the base of it if the roots are affected. Kretzschmaria is harder to spot, showing as patches of black, bumpy, coal-like crust on the bark around the base or in the buttresses. Our beech tree had been struggling for a while because the damaged roots meant that water and nutrients were not able to travel up to the crown. These fungi break down the cellulose and lignin, structural components in the tree, leaving the tree severely weakened - trees with these fungi often fail at the roots and fall over in winds.
One of our Parkland Gardeners, Matt, is qualified to fell large trees and he took the job on, bringing the tree safely down and exposing the internal decay.
In other news the hedgelaying teams are doing well, though the warm weather can make it hard work in all the layers that we wear to protect ourselves from the thorns!
|Photo by Phil Allmark|