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Scare Tactics and Laminated Root Rot

Freezing temperatures and blustery conditions have allowed the deciduous trees to finally lose their leaves, a little later than usual this year it seemed like for many species. Almost no rainy fall days after droughts of summer contributed to dismal growing conditions for trees and supporting fungi alike.

Strong northwest winds have contributed to large numbers of tree failures across the land, depending on the exposure from that direction. Amongst it all, pathogens are able to grow like not seen before within remnant stands of native trees affected by human behaviors of clearing and development. A cursory hunt on an online search engine will bring up a number of pathogens affecting local trees, Laminated Root Rot being one of the most serious.

As many tree owning/managing people have done this general pathogen search to identify insect carved ‘galleries’, conks, or decay they might see affecting their trees, this knowledge can become a burden and a subsequent source of worry for those who read what is currently known about the course and progression of this disease. A knowledge of homeowner fear and tree manager worry concerning Laminated Root Rot has led to this pathogen becoming the “go to” diagnosis for some tree service companies not willing or able to do the research necessary to determine what may be affecting a stand of trees, or a single tree. Let me explain.

An ISA Certified Arborist has a duty to approach someone if an imminent hazard with propensity to cause significant to severe damage is seen and understood. Laminated Root Rot cannot be identified from the street in front of your home or property by a soliciting layperson. A DNA test at a lab for positive identification is the first recommended action you should ever hear about this pathogen unless a recently failed tree’s root crown (or lower stem but this is not as good) is available for observation by an ISA Certified Arborist holding the additional TRAQ (Tree Risk Assessment Qualified) certification.

If a recently failed tree near you has spongy roots or other strange symptoms, and other sizable trees are nearby and within striking distance of your home, outbuildings etc., I recommend you have an ISA Certified Arborist look at the site before too long. However, if someone comes off the street saying you need tree work, tells you that you have an imminent hazard, and does NOT give you their ISA certification number freely or without asking, this person and the business they represent is suspect. At the least, please get a second opinion. I have given many and not found one example of LRR correctly reported by tree work solicitors. Beware for your trees’ sake.

Yours in trees,


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