Identification: Unknown Black Fungus on Nyssa sylvatica

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by wpsweeney, Apr 11, 2010.

  1. wpsweeney

    wpsweeney Member

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    While cruising my neighbor's forest last week, I came across a black mold-like fungus attacking every blackgum on my plot. Some of the larger 2in-4in DBH trees were still alive, but many of the smaller ones were dead, all had large black patches of this fungus. I even found the fungus on 1ft. tall seedlings. Any ideas, folks?

    Thanks,
    Bill Sweeney
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2010
  2. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi Bill,

    Are there any other symptoms like leaf blotches or eruptions from the bark?
    Also, is it possible to get a close photo of the black mold looking growth?

    thanks,
    frog
     
  3. wpsweeney

    wpsweeney Member

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    I will try to get a close up. As for leaf blotches, the buds had yet to break when I saw these blotches, so I can't say if the leaves will be affected. I'll head back to the site either today or tomorrow to check.

    Thanks,
    Bill
     
  4. wpsweeney

    wpsweeney Member

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    Okay, I finally got a chance to get out to site again to take some more pictures. The leaves are a-growin' but still no sign of the fungus on them. I will continue to monitor the site, but here are the pictures I have thus far, in a couple of them I see (I believe) fruiting structures.

    -Bill
     

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  5. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Well I haven't found an answer yet, but I've done some interesting reading/learning on hardwood trees of, and fungi that cause tree afflictions in, the U.S. South.

    From the photos, it still generally looks more like a (benign) lichen to me, partly because I don't see eruptions or bark malformations at the site of its growth. But perhaps I'm just being hopeful <grin>. I haven't yet found a lichen to match this.

    It also looks like some sort of Hypoxylon, a very flat one ... if so the question would be whether it was the initial colonizer causing trouble for the tree, or if it is a secondary decayer exploiting a vulnerability. Some decay fungi act quite slowly, and I don't know how quick or slow Hypoxylons are.

    It seems to be a good sign that the leaves are looking healthy, unblotched so far.

    This was an interesting link http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/foresthealth/forestpests/diseases.shtml.

    If I find anything more I will post.
    cheers,
    frog
     
  6. wpsweeney

    wpsweeney Member

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    Frog, I appreciate all your help! Please keep me posted on what you find, and I'll do the same.

    Bill
     
  7. nstairs

    nstairs Member

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  8. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Greetings Nstairs,

    Do you mean the reference to a resulting sooty mold, rather than this Pulvinaria itself, or are there other elements here that suggest this particular critter/cause?

    Thanks,
    frog
     
  9. nstairs

    nstairs Member

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    The characteristics of the particular mold, the host species, the fact there is another tree of a different host species with the same black mold in the area, the description of the impact on the trees, the various photos of the mold from different online sites. There was nothing under the twig back that indicated either decay or cambial problems.

    I will confirm once the leaves are out but, given that tupelo or black gum are not really susceptible to anything else that has a similar description, I would start with this - it is the best option as there was nothing out there that fits this description - even though the locations of the mold seem to be unrelated to the leaf location - it is weird.
     
  10. TupeloFan

    TupeloFan New Member

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    Reviving a very old thread as this addresses the same fungus I've found on my Black Tupelo. I'm curious if there was a positive identification of the fungus affecting Bill's tupelo trees. Any treatment recommendations?

    The health of the leaves appears to be fine. No other issues aside from the fungal issues seen in the attached photo. This began about two months ago when I noticed sap seeing from two very small fissures, which did not appear to be from a Sapsucker, which I have seen affect other Tupelos in the area.
     

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  11. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi TupeloFan,

    Generally a close up shot is needed, to see if there is any visible structure to indicate type. For example, perithecia that may indicate Hypoxylon, apothecia that may indicate some dark crustose lichen, the black fuzz of Sarea/Biatorella and so forth. When there is no structure, microscopy may be required, however in some cases there is a sum of visual evidence that would be recognized by a plant pathologist.

    Thank you for including the tree species ID, as some of these organisms are specific to tree types or species. Also note that as it sounds like this is a non-native tree, there may be possibilities of fungal species native to the tree's native region.

    Would a close up shot be possible?
    cheers,
    frog
     
  12. nstairs

    nstairs Member

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    It is a real challenge as there is so little info on specific diseases of Nyssa, but it could possibly be Botryosphaeria... cultural issues in the landscape and other chronic stresses can weaken a tree - planted too deep, drought, mechanical damage, lack of or too much mulch. Good tree care is very important, properly placed pruning cuts, planted in the right kind of growing space - all these things are chronic stressors - and diseases flourish when trees are weakened and lack reslience,

    Botryosphaeria Canker

    Your best bet would be to get a sample of the back both from the center and from the expanding edge of the canker or contact a larger tree care company that have diagnostic labs, like davey tree or bartlett, or, if you are in the US, contact your local cooperative extension as there may be a university pathology lab that does id.
     
  13. Frog

    Frog Rising Contributor Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thank you Nstairs for weighing in on this!
     
  14. SharonLRCV

    SharonLRCV New Member

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    My Nyssa sylvatica had a bad case of scale and very dark blotches on its trunk and branches. It was diagnosed with black felt fungus. I treated it with a systemic pesticide in early spring last year and its condition greatly improved. Scale has disappeared. Some fungus remains. Don't know if this helps. . .
     

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