Honey fungus of wisteria

Disease Information

Honey fungus

Symptoms and damage

Above ground

1-Upper parts of the plant die. Sometimes suddenly during periods of hot dry weather, indicating failure of the root system; sometimes more gradually with branches dying back over several years.

2-Smaller, paler-than-average leaves.

3-Failure to flower or unusually heavy flowering followed by an unusually heavy crop of fruit (usually just before death).

4-Premature autumn colour.

5-Cracking and bleeding of the bark at the base of the stem.

6-If suitable conditions permit, mushrooms are produced in autumn from infected plant material.

Below ground

Dead and decaying roots, with sheets of white fungus material (mycelium) between bark and wood, smelling strongly of mushrooms. This can often be detected at the collar region at ground level, and rarely spreads up the trunk under the bark for about 1m (3¼ft). This is the most characteristic symptom to confirm diagnosis.

Management

There are no chemicals available for control of honey fungus. If honey fungus is confirmed, the only effective remedy is to excavate and destroy, by burning or landfill, all of the infected root and stump material. This will destroy the food base on which the rhizomorphs feed and they are unable to grow in the soil when detached from infected material.

To prevent honey fungus spreading to unaffected areas, a physical barrier such as a 45cm (18in) deep vertical strip of butyl rubber (pond lining) or heavy duty plastic sheet buried in the soil will block the rhizomorphs. It should protrude 2-3cm (about 1in) above soil level. Regular deep cultivation will also break up rhizomorphs and limit spread.

 

Avoid the most susceptible plants and instead use plants that are rarely recorded as being affected by honey fungus.

 

Chemical control

There are no chemical controls available.

 



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