Mushrooms growing near tree root

Asked November 17, 2018, 10:57 AM EST

Hello! I have a quick question about my very large pine tree, mushrooms and the proximity of the two. I have heard that when mushrooms grow near a tree/tree root line that could be the beginning of the end for the tree. I have had the tree looked at in the past but this is the first year I have seen this many mushrooms. Is there any other indicator that the tree might be rotting and may have to come down? Should I just remove the mushrooms? I have attached a photo that hopefully helps. The first mushroom is about 7ft from the trunk and the farthest one is about 11ft. Thanks so much - Katie M.

Multnomah County Oregon fungi

1 Response

Hello, Katie! Thank you for your question. You are correct that mushrooms can be evidence of plant deterioration, but there are mushrooms, and then there are mushrooms. The ones that you are seeing are attached to and created by one or more fungi which are feeding on (and ‘composting’) fibrous tissue underground. This typically happens when a tree is cut down, and nature sends in the troops to return the root tissue back into nutrients for other plants. If you see mushrooms growing on or at the soil level of trees, that is a sign there is dead tissue under it. Fungi are very plant-specific in their diets, which is why mushroom hunters look for wild mushrooms in specific stands of trees. (This is explained in the following article: https://news.wsu.edu/2013/10/17/mushroom-queen-hunts-fungus-among-us/) Although your pictures are excellent, we do not identify mushrooms for fear of misidentification, leading to illness or death of one consuming them. Don’t eat! I suggest you remove and dispose of the mushrooms as they appear, and monitor your tree’s health. Judging from the distances you describe, these may be mushrooms from a fungus ‘working on’ unrelated roots. If they—or another variety—appear closer to or on the tree, it would be wise to ask a certified arborist for an evaluation. Hope this is helpful. Good luck!