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Honey Fungus


When we moved to this house 17yrs ago there were 2 cherry blossom trees, 2 wonderful silver birch and 3 crab apples. Hubby cut down the cherries as they were in a bad state and not too safe. At the time he carved the trunks into seats for the children.

5 years ago the silver birches died along with one crab apple and the following year we had a huge patch of fungus. I managed to identify it as honey fungus and naturally I was very concerned as I propagate a lot of plants.

I sent a sample to the RHS and had the heartening news that yes it was honey fungus but and this is the good bit.
It was one of 7 species of honey fungus that only attacked dying tissues. So not the harbinger of death we associate with Honey Fungus. And I could still propagate plants growing in the same space.

Sadly the oldest crab apple trees [65yrs old] gave up last year. I paid to have them removed but they didn’t take all the stumps out and one crab has sprouted from the roots. So not totally dead :o)

All the garden looked ok until 2 days after the rain.

So what do they look like 4 days ago

2 days ago

this morning.

The stump was totally removed from this spot but clearly the fungal hyphae don’t know that!

This little clump 5m from any stump.

I have also had to discover resistant species of trees and shrubs to plant in the area. [Well I need to be certain they stand a chance.]

So not mush-room left in the garden for this Fun guy to plant into. :o)

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Which trees/shrubs would you advise to plant near the type of honey fungus you have in your garden ?

13 Oct, 2013


Very informative SBG - thankfully you (RHS) identified the exact species. Sadly others might not be so lucky!

13 Oct, 2013


I'll have to go back and look at the list tt.
Cercis is one as is Yew. they are already in.
ones to avoid; syringia, forsythia, ribes, apples, cherry, plum, pear, Deutzia, Ginko { I have one that is having to live in a pot}.

The rhs website list the resistant species though if damaged/stressed they may still succumb.

13 Oct, 2013


That's an interesting list ...
I wonder how far away is a 'safe' distance away to plant the vulnerable trees and shrubs... would you need to allow for the roots eventually reaching the fungus area ?

13 Oct, 2013


That is very interesting, Sbg. The photos are fascinating.

13 Oct, 2013


I avoid them in the whole garden, though there are 2 old lilacs about 50ft away. So when they give up then I suspect the HF will 'take them'.

14 Oct, 2013


That's a pity you can't plant anything on the 'avoid' list ..

I guess many gardeners have been puzzled by the death of shrubs and trees, not realising honey fungus was the cause..

14 Oct, 2013


Crikey, it looks like an alien species but fungus is a bit odd isn't it...

14 Oct, 2013


I am always fascinated when seeing masses of fungus, there always seem to be a lot in and around old churchyards and cemetery, not sure I'd have the same reaction if it was in my garden though, I usually get a few todstools in the lawn in a couple of spots but none this year, nothing like you have Seaburn..
Great photo's and thanks for sharing the info.

14 Oct, 2013


Hi Sbg, thanks for the info, I had always assumed there was only 1 honey fungus, nice to know that it doesn't always mean a death sentence, Derek.

14 Oct, 2013


I know you cope really well with having honey fungus in your garden, Sbg. I'm sorry you've got more problems with it. Let's hope it doesn't spread any more.

15 Oct, 2013


Is there no treatment for it Sbg? I take it the "mushrooms" are not edible. How does it spread. Is it too abundant to remove the mushrooms before they throw spores all over the place? Would it help if you ground the stumps down and used a root killer on them to deprive the fungus of its favourite meal?

15 Oct, 2013


It has fungal hyphae that spread through the soil. I have already bagged and binned the toadstools before they released their spores. Difficult to eradicate. dig out the soil was one suggested treatment!!!
even the stumps that were removed throw up toadstools, there are too many roots to remove.

15 Oct, 2013


Oh dear, replacing all the soil would be a mammoth undertaking.

15 Oct, 2013


yep its just not practical. and I have enjoyed the challenge and I do find the fungus amazing to watch develop. its a pity its not edible though :o)

16 Oct, 2013


Please don't even think about it, Sbg! Eeek!

17 Oct, 2013


I'm pleased to hear the fungus is harmless. I didn't know there are different types of this to be had, and it's a lovely colour too :o)
It's strange that they are growing in a place away from the old stump. Maybe there's some dead material left in the ground.

Love your last line lol ! :o)

18 Oct, 2013


Shame to hear the Honey Fungus has attacked your trees. Hope you are able to plant resistant species. Like Hywel, I didn't know there were different species of it either.

18 Oct, 2013


I had always thought it was just one species too Balcony so I was relieved to find out.

There will be roots all over the garden slowly rotting down Hywel so its interesting to see what is appearing where.

Found some more clusters further along the same bed today.

19 Oct, 2013


I understood you to say they only attack dying tissue but if you need to choose resistant species I might be being thick but I do not understand why that is necessary.

19 Oct, 2013


i see what you mean scotsgran. the rhs advice is such. I think its in case the tree/shrub gets stressed or roots get damaged when planted and then is below par.

20 Oct, 2013


Belt and braces then since hopefully it will not attack healthy trees.

20 Oct, 2013


thats it in a nut shell. beautifully put. :o)

21 Oct, 2013

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