WHAT IS LICHEN ?
There are around 20,000-30,000 species of Lichen Worldwide. Lichen is made up of two or more organisms working together, one of which is a type of fungi. It is thought Lichens are the first example of fungi and can be found growing on bark and rocks where they absorb water and essential nutrients from the environment around them. You would most likely find these on very old trees and ancient woodlands as Lichen is extremely slow growing and these undisturbed trees and woodland would give Lichens a place to safely grow for years to come. The three main types of Lichen Crustose – having a flat shallow crusty appearance.
Foliose – which has a raised edge and leafy appearance.
Fruitcose – which is more shrub like or wispy.
WHAT IS SUMMER BRANCH DROP
Summer Branch Drop is the failing of mature tree branches over the summer period, there has been little research into why a mature tree would suddenly shed and drop their branches but some believe with the onset of heavy rain followed by dry hot spells the branches become over loaded and stressed, dropping to the earth. There seem to be certain trees which are more susceptible than others, these being Beech, Oak and Horse Chestnut. The best precaution you can have against this is to have your trees regularly inspected and if the branches become over loaded, and the branch and leaf distribution is very uneven then a reduction would be advised to help the tree re-balance itself and have a healthier life span for all involved.
WHAT IS ASH DIE BACK?
A fungus called Hymenoscyphus Fraxineus is what has caused Ash dieback. The fungus attacks the tree and causes leaf loss, crown dieback and bark lesions, once infected this will then be fatal to the tree, causing it to weaken and be more susceptible to other fungi, disease and pests. The first case was reported in Buckinghamshire in 2012 and we knew very little of how this will effect our eco system and what to do to stop the spread of this disease. The government and Landover’s have tried to defend and aid the trees by planting new Ash, building hedgerow boarders and scientists working hard to discover what makes some Ash trees especially new ones more tolerant to the fungus attack.
All trees suspected of Ash dieback are to report to FERA and more than 300 sites have been identified.
Symptoms to spot Dead or dying tops of trees
Whilting leaves, most visible in spring and early summer
Lesions and cankers on stems/branches/shoots/fruiting bodies
A healthy mature ash tree
Fungi are incredibly old and evolved at sea some 700 million years before plants, then moving further onto land some 70 millions years before plants. The Fungi group consits of mushrooms, moulds and yeasts which have a nuclears just like plants and animals, distinguishes them from bacteria and archaea. Fungi require nutrients from dead organic matter, this is why they can be found inabundance inwoodlands and are incredibly important for the ecosystem as they break down dying plant material and aid reducing the Earths carbon dioixde. The Fungi are alsoincredibly important to human society, providing us with food, medicines and enzymes important to industry (where would we be without beer and bread). Types of Fungi The best known fungus are Mushrooms, springing to life in wet, cool and damp weathers, they’re usually found to have a stalk with a large cap top. There are many varieties of fungi estimated at over 5.1 million species with some being eabable and some toxic, and as there are so many different species and some look very similar picking your mushrooms from the woods without an expert is not advised.
Mould like mushrooms are very distinctive, and is more commonly found in someones fridge on that old piece of cheese or bread. They realese mould sporse for reproduction purposes and will develop spreading quickly.
Yeast is a common term for any unicellular fungus, yeast can exist with only one cell whereas the mushroom and mould have more.
It is thought there are 8 times more different species of Fungi than there are flowering plants in the UK. Therefore impossible to name them all or be able to identify. This is why it is hugely important that before picking and harvesting any fungi from the wild you have found out from an expert that it is eabible. Agaricus Arvensis (horse mushroom) Is a good soft edible mushroom
CalvatiaGigantea (giant puffball) The largest fruit body of any fungus, which can get larger than a football and is edible. LycoperdonPerlatum (common puffball) It is edible however can easily be confused with another toxic variety, so best be safe and do not eat these.
Bracket Fungi Usually appears in the dead timber on trees which it feeds off, this fungi is not the cause of the tree dying it is simply eating away the dead parts.
CoprinusComatus (shaggy ink cap) These are found in wet grass areas and are edible
AuriculariaAuricul-judae (Jelly ear) The Chinese love to eat this jelly eared mushroom