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This tree has had a tough time recently. It was heavily pruned by a former resident, and until recently was buried in the middle of a dense bamboo grove. The bamboo visible to the right is 30+ feet tall and was completely surrounding the tree.

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Anyway, there what looks like a white fungus or growth covering large portions of the upper branches. I don't know if the tree's trauma contributed to the growth or what, but I want to know what I should do about it.

Is the fungus just natural and I should let it be? Will it resolve itself now that the tree has a better environment? Does the tree need professional help? It's not particularly bothering me, I just want to make sure the tree is getting the care it deserves.

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You are being very polite when you say "pruned". The kind of work that was done on that tree does not follow good practices and has contributed to the growth of the fungus. Here is what I see that are signs of poor health:

  • portions of the trunk which do not appear to have any bark
  • large cuts which are too large for the defense process of bark growing over the cut to heal. If decay sets in fungus will start decomposing the exposed inner core
  • there seems to be an indentation or groove at the base of the trunk which is sometimes indicative of damage to the trunk many years ago

Due to the way it was pruned the new growth has come from suckers at the end of the cuts. These have a poor attachment to the trunk. If left alone for many years they can easily become heavier than can be supported and will tear off.

You ask what you should do about the fungus. There is no reason to treat it as it is there because conditions were right. Now the bamboo has been cut back if the fungus was growing because of poor air circulation and a moist environment it should stop or slow it's growth. If could also be growing because of dead wood in the tree. You should monitor the tree for new growth and for the appearance of any other decay agents like shelf fungus.

I would contact an arborist to get a hazard assessment. There is

  • damage to the main trunk
  • it appears to be leaning towards the house
  • new growth is sucker growth with a weak attachment

At some point in time in the future part of the tree could fall off so an on site assessment is a good idea.

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