Digital Original: Tree trouble in the Natural State, why you should inspect your trees

Local News

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – You may have heard of a botanical fungus called Ganoderma, it’s a serious disease that is known for attacking the dead part of trees. 

With several different types of Ganoderma lucidum it can be hard to detect and stop from spreading.

“Become familiarized with Ganoderma – there are a 100 species out there on trees,” says Terry James, owner of James Tree Cutting Service. “It camouflages itself and you really don’t know that it’s Ganoderma.” 

The fungal disease generally enters a tree through wounds, tears, cuts or damaged roots but closer observation is showing it can weaken the living parts of the tree, making them more susceptible to topple over.   

“When trees fall they become deadly,” James says. 

High winds raged throughout central Arkansas this week and uprooted trees that took out power lines, damaged cars and even fell through homes. 

“For safety issues, you want to know your trees,” explains James. “Google it. Understand your trees cause it could save your life. Your information could actually save your life.”  

James’ family has been in the tree servicing business for more than 52 years. He’s worked all throughout Arkansas. He says he understands why many people dislike cutting down the older large trees, especially when in a historic district, but says people should take precaution to save money and potentially their life. 

“I’m about saving trees,” says James. “I’m about preserving trees but when it comes to life I am going to say let’s cut it.” 

With summer upon us, there is no telling what the weather will be but James says another round of strong winds could be disastrous for many trees. 

“Like cancer is to skin, Ganoderma is to a tree,” says James. “It sometimes undetectable but when there you know you already have a big problem.” 

The early signs of Ganoderma will typically have an off-white coloring on the outside of the tree. It is capable of attacking living trees, by causing extensive and rapid decay of roots and the trunk. This can kill the tree during a period of 3 – 5 years, according to the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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