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I've got an oak tree. Within the last 2-3 weeks I've observed two growths on the base of the tree that started from nothing to what you see below. They're a fungus or mushroom of some sort. They're solid structures, but if you look closely you can see fuzz on the tree itself where they meet.

My plan was to call someone on Monday, but I'm not entirely sure who. An arborist? Before I do call though, I'm trying to get as much information on this as I can, because I know it can range from being treatable to being dangerous.

Any ideas? Thanks!

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  • Hi Steve! Can you post a picture of the rest of the tree? How's it doing? Do you see any areas higher up that look like they might be the beginnings of more of these mushrooms? Is this your only oak? If not, how are the others? If you do need to call someone, an arborist is the right choice. I don't know where you live, or even which country, but I'd start by calling your town. Our town's arborist came out for free to do a diagnostic visit, and he included not just that tree but all the ones in my yard! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Oct 14 '17 at 1:32
  • I will post a picture of the rest of the tree in the morning. There aren't any others around. It's quite tall (>30 ft), so getting useful pictures might be tricky. I'm in south-east Tennessee. I have noticed it's starting to drop quite a few dead branches, but just small stuff. – Steve Oct 14 '17 at 2:16
  • I've added additional pictures of the tree. I'm not sure how helpful they are, since they're far away. – Steve Oct 14 '17 at 12:45
  • Doesn't make a difference, the prognosis is as I've said below I'm afraid,but if the only shelf fungus is at the base, just means its foot and butt rot, or at least, that's where it started. You still need an arborist... – Bamboo Oct 14 '17 at 15:11
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I know a question or three like this been answered before, but I can't locate them, unfortunately.

This is a shelf or bracket fungus (as we call them in the UK) and I'm sorry to say its presence spells death for your tree. It's the fruiting body of mycelium already at work within the tree, and those mycelium will have been there some time before this appears.

An arborist is essential to check if the tree is safe at the moment, though you may have a little time before it becomes a matter of urgency that the tree should be removed.

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Mushrooms or large fungi growing from the sides of trees like this indicate that there may be internal rot which is providing food for the fungus. Healthy trees produce fungicides to inhibit the growth of fungi which is why you normally wait a few weeks after felling an oak tree or cutting off a branch before attempting to inoculate with oyster or shiitake mushroom mycellium.

So, arborist is the right call. And if the tree needs to come down, you're going to be able to grow a heap of mushrooms for years to come!

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