Trees can stand up to a lot of things. They can recover from being burned. Even if you shoot a tree, it will survive. You can also cut off parts of a tree and it will still keep growing. Trying to remove a tree and miss some roots? That tree is going to come back to haunt you. Like all living things, however, even trees have weaknesses:

Dying willows in Escondido Creek appear to be victims of fungus, rather than a beetle infestation, the Escondido Creek Conservancy announced on its website Wednesday.

The problem began over the summer, when the conservancy learned that trees in Elfin Forest were wilting and dying, Executive Director Ann Van Leer said. Withered branches lined the creek bed, and blackened leaves drooped from nearby trees.

Conservancy officials temporarily closed trails in the area in August, and enlisted Riverside plant pathologist Akif Eskalen to study the die-off, hoping to pinpoint the cause.

After testing samples from the willows, he found four different types of fungus that can attack trees.

Conservancy officials plan to take a wait and see approach to the problem, monitoring whether the infestation worsens in the spring and discouraging hikers and visitors from moving any wood from the area.

“These fungi are known to cause wood canker and dieback on a wide variety host trees worldwide,” Eskalen wrote in a report to the conservancy. “They are also known to produce overwintering structures where they release spores the following spring to “reinfect” its host plant and possibly spread to others.”

Eskalen included a photo of a tree from the watershed, showing a grayish patch of fungal spores on tree and the damaged wood tissue beneath. And he sent photos of willows with dried out, dying branches, indicating that the infestation is still ongoing and could continue in the spring. Officials warn that transporting wood could also spread pests between woodland areas.

The collapse of willow groves can devastate habitat for the least Bell’s vireo, an endangered songbird that lives along streams, and the stands of dead wood could pose fire hazards to surrounding communities.


With warmer weather comes the desire to camp. Camping brings about the need for firewood.  You’ve got to be careful where you get your wood from. Using the infected logs from a tree can transport the disease to a new area. For some tree borne diseases, burning the wood causes the spores to be released over a huge area. With a puff of smoke you could be infecting an entire forest. It sounds a little ridiculous but it’s serious business. Do you have willow trees on your property? It’s best to get them inspected to see if they are carrying the disease. There may be other trees at risk as well, so stay informed. If you have infected trees, proper removal will ensure that the trees are looked after properly and disposed of properly. We provide tree removal service that can help you out: Don’t leave things up to chance: let us do the hard work.

Not All Fungi Are Fun Guys is republished from