Zenun
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:52 am

Bracket Fungus and Forest Pansy Advice

Hi All!
I'm from Sydney Australia and this is my first post :D I'm hoping someone out there can help me.

I recently had my two 60yr old Iron Bark Eucalyptus trees cut down because they were both infected with Bracket Fungus. I was told by a tree lopper that the fungus will still be in the ground even after the trees have gone and that the ground will have to be treated with a fungicide before I plant anything in that spot.

The problem I have is the original owners of this home built the ground level up around the base of these trees by about 600mm which means to get the the root system I would have to dig down more than a meter, to be able to apply the fungicide. :cry:

If anyone knows anything about bracket fungus and how to treat it, I would really appreciate any suggestions on how to tackle this problem.

The tree that I want to plant in place of the Eucalpyptus trees is a "Forest Pansy". It's a beautiful tree that I've only recently discovered and believe its native to America. I've read conflicting information about the climate zone this tree will do well in and was wondering if anyone can shed some light on this for me.

Western Sydney has a fairly temperate sub tropical climate. We can get light frosts in winter and very hot and humid summers. Will this tree do well in this type of climate? I've read that they can be found in Florida so I figured it would do okay here, but I've also read that they are more suited to a colder climates, so I'm not sure if I should give it a go or not.

I would appreciate any advise you may have and thank you for reading my post :D
All the best
Joanne

TheLorax
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Posts: 1416
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:40 am
Location: US

Sorry you removed the tree.

Here's a brief explainer on bracket fungus-
https://waynesword.palomar.edu/bracfung.htm

Unless you are in the lumber industry, there's really no reason to remove them or the trees they grow on and no reason to treat the surrounding area with a fungicide. They're an integral part of the decomposition cycle.

More on your bracket fungus specific to Australia here-
https://museumvictoria.com.au/forest/plants/bracket.html

"Forest Pansy' is a Cercis canadensis sport with parentage of a northern race and not a race from Florida. The straight species of Cercis canadensis var. canadensis is native to North America. The climate you described probably wouldn't be the best for that particular tree. You'd have a considerably better chance growing Cercis canadensis var. texensis or C. canadensis var. mexicana but I don't believe your nursery industry is importing those or any named cultivars from that parentage such as 'Oklahoma". I do realize it's confusing which is why I am trying to take the time to point out to you that not all Cercis canadensis are created equal so to speak and they want you to buy those plants even though they might not be the best choice for your particular situation. Same thing goes on over here all the time. They show us the beautiful photos and provide descriptions of these plants that make us lust for them so we buy them and plant them.

Your wallet might be better served by attempting to locate a replacement tree that would be better adapted to the sub tropical climate where you garden. I don't believe 'Forest Pansy' is the tree for you. It would probably survive for a while but I suspect you'd be back buying another replacement tree within about 5-10 years ofter the 'Forest Pansy' failed to receive sufficient dormancies. Try to think along the lines of planting a mighty American Oak on a tropical island. The mighty oak may last a little bit longer than a Coconut Palm planted in Canberra but they're both ultimately going to stress and die off.

Hope this helps. Best wishes in the selection process, it's hard!

Zenun
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:52 am

Hi TheLorax,
Thank you for your post, it was very helpful.

I cried when I was told the trees had to come down. Unfortunately the tree was dropping 10 meter limbs due to dry rot extending up the trees trunk as a direct result of the bracket fungus (or so I was told). Council arborist told me that they were high risk and had to come down. Being native trees and told they had to come down by council is unheard of in this district!

The trees were one of the reasons we purchased our house. They were so beautiful and gave us lovely shade and a wonderful bird life. Which is another reason I'm trying to find something suitable to plant in their place.

I had a feeling the Forest Pansy wasn't going to do very well in my area. It's a real shame :cry: I guess I was hoping it would be alright. It would have been the perfect tree with regard to height, spread, colour and the lovely show of flowers. I guess it's back to the drawing board. Your right about it being hard, it took me weeks of looking to come up with the Forest Pansy.

Thank you again for taking the time to reply to my post. I really appreciate your advice. :D

TheLorax
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Posts: 1416
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:40 am
Location: US

A shelf, or rather a bracket fungus, is rather common particularly toward the end of a tree's life. Personally, I think they're beautiful and so natural looking. They remind me of the wonderful wrinkles on the faces and hands of very elderly people. Bracket fungus, like wrinkles, adds character!

Although I did not originally agree with the Council Arborist, I do agree that a tree capable of dropping limbs on property should be removed. I generally leave trees be to come down on their own for reasons you now understand unless they're anywhere in striking range of our home or any out buildings.

One thing to be thankful for would be that you won't feel compelled to go out spending money unnecessarily on fungicides as you know a lot more about bracket fungus to be able to make decisions for yourself. Bracket fungus is a lot safer to live with than fungicides.

If you like native trees, and it sounds as if you do, what about looking up which species are native to your beautiful property and seeing what is available locally? Since those trees were so large and attractive, what about trying a few different locally native species to add some visual interest? Just a thought.

Zenun
Full Member
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:52 am

I would have to agree with you about the fungus being beautiful. When my 2 year old daughter discovered it she asked what it was and I told her it was a seat for the fairies, so they had somewhere to sit and read. My neighbour was with us when I said it and then told me that it was a sign of rot. I had no idea! A week later a massive limb fell in an afternoon storm and we were lucky it didn't hit our house. It was over our roof but the combination of rot and wind made the limb fall almost 180˚ from it's original position. It did destroy my 2 week old iron outdoor setting though, which I wasn't very happy about :cry:

I am very thankful to you for saving me money on fungicides and my tree option. I'm not looking forward to searching for another tree, it's so hard :? A lot of the native trees that grow on the East coast of Australia are rather large. The arborist at council told me not to plant another tree like the ones I had in my yard. He said they are too large for a suburban backyard (better suited to parks). I asked him what he grew in his yard and he said he had an ornamental pear. I looked into these trees but found they had tendencies to fall over or drop branches in strong winds, because they're quite brittle in structure - beautiful trees though...

I'm hoping to find something similar to the Forest Pansy, in height, spread and colour. Although I don't like my chances. It's in a class of its own. Before I discovered the Forest Pansy I was thinking about planting a Crape Myrtle. They seem to be very hardy strong trees. They're planted all over the place in my area on medium strips and other public places, so they must do well here. Although my neighbour told me they make a mess with their flowers, so I'm not so sure about them.

There are so many things to consider when choosing a tree, it's so difficult, but I will not give up on my search for one :D
Thank you again for all your help and advice I really appreciate it - you're a wealth of knowledge! :D

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