UKTC Archive

RE: ustulina growth rate

Subject: RE: ustulina growth rate
From: Addison, Gilbert
Date: Jan 20 2009 08:57:05
I once saw a curious case of a 60 year old, vigorous, copper beech where the 
fallen leaves had been swept back under the crown to some depth. A spark from 
an incinerator the other side of a wall had ignited the leaves which in turn 
had burnt the top surfaces of this rather surface rooting copper beech. 
Daldinia fruited extensively on the fire damaged surfaces but to my knowledge 
the tree is still good 20 years later.

Gilbert Addison | Tree and Countryside Officer |Breckland Council
Office: 01362 XXXXXX Fax: 01362 XXXXXX 
DDI:   01362 XXXXXX | Mobile: na
Elizabeth House, Walpole Loke, Dereham NR19 1EE |



-----Original Message-----
From: Luke Steer [] 
Sent: 19 January 2009 16:17
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: ustulina growth rate

I'm sorry to pick up on this late in the day.  I found your comments very 
interesting and would like to delve further into the subject if you don't 

I understand that Ustulina has a low pathogenic ability, ie. it finds it 
difficult or impossible to infect or kill healthy cells.  Does it therefore 
follow that if there is a large outbreak of the fruiting bodies of this 
fungus that:
        1. the wood died due to other reasons and the Ustulina, which was 
already present and decaying internal tissues, was just taking advantage of 
the newly available resource?  
        2. Was it present in the wood as latent propagules? or alternatively 
        3. did it kill either healthy or moribund tissues and then utilise 
them for its own growth?  

My understanding of the Boddy and Raynor 1983 paper that is now freely 
available on the New Phytologist website suggests the former - has thinking 
moved on from this point of view?  Personally I have noticed outbreaks of the 
fruit bodies of wood decay fungi on trees after tree stressing events such as 
drought, water logging, severe pruning or trenching and I've interpreted this 
as wood tissues dieing and then being colonised by the decay fungi after the 
stress event unless they were already there as latent propagules and just 
taking advantage of the newly aerated tissues.  

With regard to your oak that retains it leaves I know of a similar one 
without Ustulina and after lots of head scratching that increased the size of 
my bald patch I found that it was a hybrid with Q. canariensis.  

On another topic I seem to remember that there was some discussion a while 
back about Daldinia concentrica growing on species other than ash.  Boddy in 
her 1994 paper in the AA Journal found it in beech and oak as well as ash.  
Did it decay these species but, for whatever reason, was only able to produce 
fruit bodies on ash, maybe due the the chemical makeup of the wood or other 
environmental conditions?  Isn't it great there is so much we don't know but 
can try and find out.  


Luke Steer  BSc.(Hons), Dip.Arb.(RFS), F.Arbor.A. MICFor.
Chartered Arboriculturist

Treescapes Consultancy Ltd.
17 Millans Park
LA22 9AG

Tel: 01539X XXXXX
Mobile: 07734 XXXXXX

The answer is yes it may have come out between surveys. Ustulina only fruits 
when the decay is at the surface and regularly we see trees with advanced 
Ustulina but very small or no apparent fruiting bodies because the infection 
hasn't broken the surface or only in a very small part. Then the next year 
there is an 'expolsion of fruiting' if your lucky and the infection has 
broken through the surface. Interestingly just before the infection gets to 
the surface there is often a sudden build up of heat in the tree because 
oxygen can get into the tree in larger quantities triggering an increase in 
decay processes but the heat can't get out. On the minus side you often have 
few canopy symptoms, we think this might be a hormonal thing. There is an Oak 
at Wimpole hall I call the magic tree. It keeps its leaves well into Winter 
so much so I thought it was a cork oak from a distance when I first saw it. I 
always wondered what the cause was and found a large Ustulina infection. It's 
only a theory at the moment but there are also internal symptoms in many 
infected trees that suggest some form of sap feeding, so an hormonal 
response/trigger is not beyond the realms of possibility. 
Cheers    Marcus  

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