Honey fungus

I've posted this under "problem solving" although it's more a discussion about living with a problem and adapting to its conditions. I've lived in the property about 18months and the last two summers I have observed fungus growing nearby an old tree trunk. Evidently the previous owner felled a large tree but did not remove the stump or roots. Looking online I have identified the fungus as honey fungus, it's appearance and habit make it fairly conclusive. I've also observed several of my plants die or fail to thrive, most of them roses and viburnums - both plants are susceptible to honey fungus infection. So I feel the diagnoses is pretty clear. I'm new to gardening but spent a lot of time playing in woodland as a child and I remember seeing honey fungus or Amerilla on fallen trees and old stumps, it had a natural and unthreatening presence, with plenty of thriving shrubs and trees all around. But within the context of a suburban garden I suppose honey fungus is looked upon as a villain? I was dismayed looking online to find that honey fungus is considered "the most deadly fungus in the UK" and is described as a "killer". Considering my own plants appear to have died since coming into contact with honey fungus, must I resign myself and my garden to a grim and dismal future? I'm told no chemical treatments are available and the only way to reduce (not remove) the deadly fungus is to dig out the infected stump, roots and dig out 1m of soil in a 10m radius! That's bigger than my garden allows. I have contacted a tree surgeon about grinding out the stump and so on. But I can't believe that life with honey fungus in the garden needs to be so depressing? Surely if the oldest woodlands and some of the oldest stately gardens have survived cycles of honey fungus over the centuries, then there must be hope for my little plot of land to overcome this issue? I should say that my village is surrounded by woodland and heathland, where I've no doubt various types of honey fungus abound. I have been reading the RHS list of suggested plants which are NOT susceptible to fungus. As I am still quite new to this garden, and very new to gardening in general. The idea of working against nature and expending blood, sweat and tears to simply "reduce" the honey fungus which then requires long term monitoring, sucks all the life out of my enthusiasm for gardening. Is it not possible to dig out the old stump and then control the influence of fungus by introducing plants which are less susceptiple to infection? And possibly protect the few roses I have by digging a new bed for them, lined with pond-liner (as I have read online the fungus cannot penetrate plastic). I would love to hear words of encouragement from gardeners who have lived with honey fungus and have not felt the need to dig up their entire garden. I only seem to find tales of despair online which is not helpful if you want to remain positive! Many thanks in advance
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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 55,520

    I wouldn't even dig out the stump - I think it will do little that is useful.  I know quite a few lovely gardens that live along with honey fungus and there's a wide range of plants that it doesn't seem to affect. 

    We don't have it here, but several gardeners on this forum do and I'm sure they'll be along soon to share their experiences and some tips.

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    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,041

    Hi Mr Mustard

    I licve with HF, 2 large willows died of it within a year and root removal was never a possiblity. I have lost a couple of clematis in the area, maybe down to HF, who knows?

    But an ash is growing healthily from the base of one stmp and a large hebe, a Sorbus hupehensis and several others are OK nearby. The ceanothus I think may be affected. It's part of life in a woodland as you say. Not the end of the world.

  • Thank you Dove! I quite like the old stump to be honest, it's rather characterful especially in spring where bulbs grow near to it.
  • Nutcutlet; thank you yes I have read that hebes are hardy to the fungus which is great news. I like the idea of embracing the woodland environment and I may take that as an inspiration for a new planting scheme. Thanks for the tips
  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 26,041

    I find stumps attractive as well. Our willows were left as high stumps and some chain saw sculpture occurred. All falling apart now (8 or 9 years later) and more wildlife habitat than sculpture.

  • Yes absolutely. I remember some years ago I saw the stumpery at Arundel castle and found the forms enchanting. Something majestic about a narled, silver stump with the odd toad-stool here and there - a picture of nature at work and the cycle of life.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 7,970

    I also live with HF and agree with much of the above although I would recommend the removal of the stump if you can as armillaria cannot survive without a 'home base' of rotting wood or an infected woody host plant.  Regular cultivation of the soil in affected areas will break-up the rhizomorphs which spread the disease and broken pieces of rhizomorph will die and not form new growths.  There is a more comprehensive list of susceptible and resistant species than the RHS lists, in this document from the Guernsey government site:

    http://www.gov.gg/article/5153/Plant-Pests-and-Diseases

    direct link to the pdf:

    http://www.gov.gg/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=4797&p=0

    HF is not nice to have but you CAN help reduce it's impact and live with it.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Thanks Bob the gurnsey pamphlet is very comprehensive and I agree goes into more detail than the RHS site, thank you.

    I suspect removing the stump is going to prove quite destructive to an adjacent low wall but I suppose it can be rebuilt at some cost. It makes sense that keeping the soil as healthy as possible will enable neighbouring plants to survive. There is a laurel hedge almost on top of the stump and I notice that laurel is classed as very susceptible, and yet this hedge appears to thrive and is several years old. So I wonder why it has not yet submitted to infection. Touch wood!
  • I have just been reading the list of resistant plants featured in the Guernsey pdf that Bob very kindly shared and comparing it with the RHS list. Rather bewilderingly, there are some contradictions. For example the RHS list Hebe as a resistant shrub, as highlighted by Nutcutlet above, but the Guernsey pamphlet lists the hebe as susceptible. Likewise for a few others. Oh dear. I thought I had a plan but it seems the choice of plants is not straight forward...
  • Hi, Can anyone tell me if they think these photos are of Honey Fungus?  It just appeared this week around the base of an old Ash stump that's been in the garden at least 10 years.  There used to be an area of small Carex pendula grasses around the stump that were all dug out about 3 months ago. The tree stump already has Daldinia concentrica (King Alfred's Cakes) fungus, but I'm not worried about that.  Any thoughts please?!

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