Fall Fungi

CHICKEN OF THE WOODS or the sulphur shelf fungus (Laetiporus Laetiporus sulphureus Newark DE 2016sulphureus) has been seen at the base of trees with large bright yellow and orange overlapping fruiting structures. These fungi are some of the most colorful and identifiable fungi found on living or dead trees. Chicken of the woods is a choice edible, but must be positively identified by an expert. It is one of many fungal species that attack the heartwood of trees, and produce fruiting bodies on the trunk. Laetiporus is common in oak trees, as many of these Basidiomycetes are found in association with certain trees. If one tree has heart rot, it doesn’t mean that nearby trees will get it, even if they are of the same species. The fungus must enter through a wound in order to become established, and the fungus will slowly decompose the heartwood, the dead wood or center of the tree. By the time a fruiting body is produced on the trunk of a living tree, it usually means that the fungus has been there for years. At this point there is no control but to keep tree stress low. Rotting of the interior wood can weaken the tree, leading to breakage, insect damage, and other diseases. An arborist may be able to prune to save the tree.

NFG 8/21/16