Industry News: Bark and Trunk Concerns

Q: Is it normal for mushrooms to grow between a branch and the trunk of a maple?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016  

Q: My maple started to shed bark over the last couple of years. I realize that this is a characteristic of the sugar maple after reading your Q&A. My tree also has very large mushrooms growing out of the bark, between a branch and the trunk of the tree. The mushrooms start to grow in late September and they die out in late December.

I live in New England, and I also spoke to a tree guy who said this was normal. But what is normal? I just don't want to lose the tree if there is something I can do to help it. Thank you for your time.

A: A 45-year-old sugar maple displaying “ mushrooms," or conks, is a concern.  Conks are the fruiting body of a fungus and are indicators of interior decay. They are a warning sign. If the tree is really 45 years old, it is not really old enough to have age-related internal decay, so the area displaying such fungi fruiting bodies must have suffered some type of damage at one time or another. I would recommend having a local ISA Certified Arborist take a closer look at the tree and the area of decay as well as assess the surrounding area to determine how much of a hazard the tree presents to the property.


Responder: Michael Hughes, RCA #383, Freeport, ME