Tree Limb – Orange Fungus

Q: I recently noticed a couple of leafless limbs on my sawtooth oak. They also have a scaly orange fungus and one had a gelatinous, drippy mass of some sort.

A: It looks like both limbs were shaded out by limbs above. Since their leaves produced nothing the tree aborted them. This is a normal phenomenon: lower limbs get shaded by upper ones as a tree grows taller.

Your next job is to remove the dead limbs correctly. Do not cut limbs flush to the trunk, but make the cut at the collar. The collar is the slightly swollen transition area at the base of the branch where it joins the trunk. Cutting flush with the trunk will leave a much larger wound than cutting at the collar and it may never heal, leading to a hollow tree.

Wound dressings applied to the wound don’t help reduce decay and are not recommended.

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