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Oak Root Fungus

Oak root fungus is caused by a pathogen known as Armillaria melea. Armillaria can cause sudden tree root failure, often with devastating effects and tragic loss of human life.

The Armillaria fungus breaks down root tissue in the tree and may eventually kill the plant. Plants that are infected by Armillaria may either linger for years or may quickly die off. About 700 species of herbaceous and woody plants can serve as hosts of oak root fungus. Symptoms of this disorder include a decline and die-back of plant; the leaves wilt, turn yellow, and eventually die.

Clumps of honey-colored mushrooms often become visible during the wet seasons of the fall and winter. The mushrooms may be 2-5 inches in diameter and during the autumn or spring can sometimes be found at the crown of the infected plant or between bark and ground level (or just below it).

There is no effective fungicidal control for oak root fungus. Remove and replace severely infected plants with ones that are less susceptible to fungus. One preventative method for oak root fungus is to avoid planting susceptible plants in areas of confirmed Armillaria habitat. Make sure you destroy all roots larger than one inch in diameter when clearing for new planting sites.

For your peace of mind, consult with a certified arborist as soon as possible if you think you may have this problem!

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