Cherry Tree Fungus

Asked November 4, 2019, 12:38 PM EST

I have some fungus on my cherry tree and I’ve had to cut some limbs recently due to rot. Could someone please tell me what this fungus is and what I can do about it? I showed a picture to a local nursery and they suspected it was lichen. I’m concerned now that some of the limbs are rotting and falling.

Maryland

1 Response

This tree has more than one fungal species growing on it, such as shelf fungi and toothed fungi Keep in mind that fungi (like mushrooms) grow on dead organic matter. This basically means that the branches where you see it growing so happily are, in fact, partially dead already.

The dead branches need to be pruned off at the trunk. If the tree still looks worth saving, be sure to water it during droughts over the next couple of years.

One reason it may be dying back is that it has mulch piled on the base. Mulch should not be more than 2-3" deep and should not touch the trunk. Keep it back a few inches. You should be able to see where the trunk flares wider before it goes into the soil. Don't cover the flare. That encourages disease and insect problems.

Incidentally, the little bluish-green growth in the bottom photo (3rd photo) is lichen. It is not harmful to trees. It just uses them for something to grow on. But, lichen have their own chlorophyll and don't draw any nourishment from the tree.

Ellen