Mushrooms on Ligustrum Limb Equal Slow Death

Q: I planted this ligustrum thirteen years ago, but had some deer rubbing damage on the lower bark of one of the main stems six years ago that never really healed up. Now that same area has just started “sprouting” mushrooms.

I removed each of these by hand two weeks ago. They were very difficult to remove for some reason and now they have come back! If this one fork is decaying, what can I do to prevent or slow this process?

A: Your assessment is correct: the mushrooms tell us the interior of the branch is dying and is slowly being decomposed by a saprophytic fungus that digests wood.

Mushrooms are the way the fungus propagates itself via spores.

Bottom line: there is nothing you can do about it. The fungus can not be eliminated. You’ll just have to wait and see how long the limb can survive and have leaves before you decide to take it down.

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