Aspen trunk rot
Damage, symptoms and biology
The fruiting bodies are hard, persistent and hoof-shaped. The upper surface is blackish, rough and cracked. The underside is composed of spore-bearing tubes and is brown, with a grey cast in winter. The infection enters the tree through branch stubs and the fruiting bodies develop for 4 to 6 years after the start of the infection. At that time, rot has already developed 2 to 3 m above and below the point of entry.
Aspen trunk rot is one of the most serious problems limiting the utilization of mature aspen in western Canada. The presence of a single fruiting body generally indicates a considerable volume of decay, as much as 82% of gross tree volume. Unfortunately, there are often no external indicators of decay, and it is difficult to predict decay volumes. Volume losses increase significantly with tree age.
Phellinus tremulae was once considered as a part of the Phellinus igniarius complex, but is now recognized as a distinct species. It occurs exclusively on aspen, and is the most damaging decay fungus associated with the tree species. Decayed wood in fresh cut trees has a distinct wintergreen odour.
Canadian Forest Service Publications
Information on host(s)
Balsam poplar, hybrid poplar
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