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Hi all - is my apple tree a goner?!

Rob LockwoodRob Lockwood Posts: 311



  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 15,857
    Probably has some rotting wood in the trunk.  What do the branches look like?

    You don't stop doing new things because you get old, you get old because you stop doing new things. <3
  • Rob LockwoodRob Lockwood Posts: 311
    It looks in reaonable nick otherwise fidgetbones - certainly quite venerable!
  • Rob LockwoodRob Lockwood Posts: 311
    Any recognise the mushroom?  Hoping it's not honey fungus, but I think that's little mushrooms rather than this ball/bracket-type thing.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,343
    It’s not honey fungus 😊 

    It looks to me like some sort of bracket fungus but I’ve no idea which

    Any ideas @Helix, @steephill, @wild edges or anyone?
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Rob LockwoodRob Lockwood Posts: 311
    I had a gander at the site and a fungi book and it's starting off like a shaggy bracket fungus Dove.  Great if someone could confirm, and let me know whether the tree and fungus can exist in happy symbiosis or whether it's a fight to the death!
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336
    Hi Rob, bracket fungi don't kill trees directly, they just steadily rot away the heartwood.  The question is really 'how extensive is the rot in the main strength-bearing heartwood of the tree?'  The only living parts of the trunk and branches is a thin layer just below the bark and this can go on growing even if the heartwood has rotted completely, as evidenced in ancient oak trees which often have hollow trunks.  What happens then is that large branches or the whole tree will eventually fall, usually in windy conditions when in full leaf.  It could be many years before that happens, or could be later today, there's no way of knowing without inspecting the wood by intrusive methods, such as taking core samples.  If there is any potential danger from it coming down (eg if a large tree or if children play on/near it), it might be worth getting a tree surgeon in to inspect.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,369
    Looks like shaggy bracket (Inonotus Hispidus). It will produce fruiting bodies like this annually which should fall off naturally. There isn't any treatment but your tree has at least another 50 years of life left in it.

    The main danger is an affected branch hollowing out and eventually dropping although there is more risk of branches failing from too much fruit. Infected branches can be trimmed and propped to reduce the risk of sudden failure.
  • Rob LockwoodRob Lockwood Posts: 311
    edited June 2020
    That's great - thanks everybody.  If you'll indulge me I have a vaguely related follow-up, though appreciate this one may be more a fruit than a fungi question: we don't use any of the apples in the kitchen as they all end up like this!  Any advice?  Don't get me wrong, it's a lovely architectural tree and the squirrels, birds and compost bin like the mouldy results, but if there's a simple fix to try to get an apple pie out of it... :)

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336
    That's Brown rot - RHS advice here:
    Basically, clearing-up fallen leaves and fruit at the end of the season and making sure there are no infected 'mummified' fruit stuck to the branches over winter will help, especially if you mulch the area beneath the tree after clearing-up the fallen fruit and leaves in autumn.  A 'winter tree wash' may also help but that's not really practical on a large tree.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Rob LockwoodRob Lockwood Posts: 311
    edited June 2020
    Hi @Bob - I take it mulching would help stop any brown rot in/on the soil from getting back up to the tree?  Sounds like I can't compost the affected fruit then  :( Will it burn? 
    I'll look into the tree wash!
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