orchard tree fungus

Asked January 28, 2017, 7:07 PM EST

I was pruning our orchard and noticed this fungus (photo attached). Unfortunately I don't know what kind of tree it is on. We just moved here and this tree did not fruit last summer/fall. Do you know what this is, and should I destroy this tree? thanks

Benton County Oregon

1 Response

It doesn’t really matter what tree it is because it is unlikely to survive much longer. The growths on the trunk are growing from dead wood. Because the tree looks very young, I suspect one or more of the following reasons for its failure: It has a planting problem; it never rooted in; and/or it didn’t receive sufficient water in its first year or two.

When you look closely at the trunk, you’ll see number of short cracks. They indicate that the underlying wood is dead. With time, the bark will fall off.

I also see what appears to be a soaker hose or dripline. Such hoses can provide sufficient water for a young tree, but we can only guess at how often, and/or how much water was applied via that method. I suspect too little was applied too seldom rather than too much too often.

So, yes, I suggest you destroy this tree, not because the fungus is contagious but because the tree is unlikely to have a productive future. If this were my new property, I’d wait until I knew what other fruits trees are already present and then, decide if I need another tree. One reason you might need another tree is that one of the remaining trees needs a second tree to provide pollen, such as is the case with apples.

Resources for you:

- Growing Tree Fruits and Nuts in the Home Orchard https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/ec819.pdf

- Training and Pruning Your Home Orchard https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/pnw400.pdf

If you need help identifying your orchard trees, or have other questions about your landscape and garden, you can contact the Benton County Extension Service Office: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/benton/

Have fun in your new garden!