Hypoxylon Canker Fungus

On many properties this summer, my tree specialists have seen a lot of Hypoxylon Canker Fungus on hardwoods. This is a common occurrence during drought. This pathogen is a naturally occurring fungus in the Texas soil and it affects trees only when something else has weakened the tree. Of course, drought is one of those things which can put stress on our trees. Other examples of naturally occurring conditions that weaken trees are oak-wilt, insects, and open tree wounds cause by broken limbs.

Tree weakening can also be caused by human usually through construction damage. Examples of construction damage are lacerations to a tree from machinery, damage to roots from sprinkler system installation, and other similar human activities. The picture of what Hypoxylon Canker Fungus looks like is above to help you identify it.

As you can see, the visible damage is to the bark of a tree. It discolors the bark and in severe cases, it leaves open wounds that the tree tries to heal. This fungus certainly takes away from the health and vigor of a tree’s healthy growth along with contributing to a slow and gradual decline.

According to the Texas A&M Department of Plant Pathology, the solutions to help reduce the spread and of Hypoxylon Fungus can vary. You have to remember that the fungus becomes active on stressed or weakened trees so it is necessary to address those conditions. While addressing the stress causers, certain mulching, tree trimming, and tree removal practices address the spread of the fungus as well. A practice called Vertical Mulching will help the soil’s condition. If a tree has a small percentage of the branches affected by Hypoxylon Canker Fungus then simply pruning the affected area is suffice. But if a tree has larger portions infected then we always recommend completely removing the damaged tree for the sake of preventing property damage during an inevitable future high wind or ice storm.

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