Sporophores  - The fruiting bodies of fungi may be present for only a few days or for many years.  Sporophores or fungus fruit bodies on wounds and old branch stubs and on roots do indicate decayed wood.  But, every sporophore does not mean that a large column of decayed wood is present.  This point about sporophores has been greatly over used.  Some sporophores are associated with very small amounts of decayed wood.  The mushroom-type of fruit body usually does not last long on a tree.  Yet some of the decay-causing fungi that produce such sporophores do cause serious tree problems.  The best example is the shoestring mushroom, or Armillaria mellea.  It usually fruits late in the growing season and is associated with symplastless roots.  Another type of sporophore has a shelf-like structure.  Many of the shelf fungi are called conks.  Some may persist on a tree for over 15, or even 20 years.  And, they may weigh over 20 or 30 pounds.  The artist conk is one that does grow to a great size.  Removing the sporophores will not stop, or even stall, the spread of decay.  Just because there are no sporophores on a wound does not mean that there is no decayed wood.  On some trees it is necessary to clear away the organic matter about the base of the tree to find the sporophores.  Fungi that cause root rots may form sporophores under the leaf litter at the tree base.  Check under vines and other plants that may grow about the base of trees.  Important notes:  In a tree three situation, fungi diversity plays a key role in system health while CWD provides the substrate for many.  Fungi is the base of the food web.  People who think all fungi are bad should go without wine, cheese and bread for starters.  Predisposition plays a key role in the understanding of the successions of microorganisms.  In spite of abiotic destructive forces and biotic agents such as insects, bacteria, and fungi, humans still rank as the major destructive agent for trees in forests and cities.  Ignorance of tree biology is a major cause of this.



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