Orange slime in stump of big leaf maple
Is it safe to plant edibles near this stump? Is orange tree slime hazardous to humans? We had a huge big leaf maple stop leafing out on one main branch, start losing bark at its base and have a decaying section at its base (withmushrooms). The remaining healthy branch was hanging periously over the house so we had the tree taken down last October. There was a piece of cut wood placed on top of the stump. We just removed the cut wood to discover orange slime on the trunk (and cut wood) filled with earth worms. I had planned to use this stump as a base for a wine barrel planter in which to grow tomatoes ! Is that safe? We think the tree may have died from vertcillium wilt. We lost a young skeeters broom maple to veryicillium wilt last fall.
Washington County Oregon
Thank you for your question. What you have is a very naturally occurring--and valuable--fungus breaking down what is left of the fibrous tissue that once was a tree. The mushrooms are attached to the fungus, and help continue the life of the species by having spores that get carried or borne to form new fungi. These are not a health risk to you, and putting a container with edible plants over the fungus and the mushrooms will not be dangerous. If it hasn't killed the earthworms, it won't hurt you. Good luck!
Thank you so much. What a relief!
You're welcome! In case this process (and fungi) is of interest to you, here's a good article explaining the process: https://herbarium.usu.edu/fun-with-fungi/decomposition