Honey fungus

Symptoms

There are different symptoms which point to honey fungus, some or all of them may be present at one time. Also, death can take years or be virtually instantaneous with plants being suddenly stopped in their tracks, half-opened leaves just frozen in time. The symptoms include; hone-coloured toadstools appear in clumps around the base of affected plants in late summer or autumn. A creamy white fungal sheet develops underneath the bark at the base of the trunk or stem, this has a very 'mushroomy' smell. Black bootlaces that are often mistaken for old roots can be found in the soil. These are rhizomorphs – the fungal strands by which the fungus feeds and spreads. Cause Various species of fungus. Most varieties live on dead wood only, but some attack living plants.

Harm

Plants are killed.

Treatment

There are no chemical cures for honey fungus. Armillatox can be used to help sterilise the soil and keep any as yet uninfected plants healthy. Any infected plants should be dug up with as much of the root system as possible. The best thing to do is to plant resistant plants. Trees: yew, beech, box, oaks, cercis, catalpa. Shrubs: ceratostigma, choisya, cotinus, photinia, pieris, pittosporum, sarcococca, eleagnus, kerria, hebe, phlomis. Climbers: actinidia, abutilon, chaenomeles, clematis, passiflora.

It is also important to keep plants as healthy as possible, so they are better able to withstand any attacks. The best way to feed plants is to firstly, dig in well rotted farmyard manure or bone meal when planting. Also, in the autumn and again in the spring mulch around the base of plants with a good thick layer of well rotted farmyard manure.