The Q&A Archives: Flying Fungus?

Question: In our front yard, the trees have developed a hairy, cottony-like fungus that blows to the next tree in the wind. It's clearly contagious and it's clearly affecting all the trees now. It grows rapidly and looks awful, not to mention what health affects it has since it's right outside the windows to our home.

What kills it? Is pesticide the answer? If you cut or move the branches in any way, the fungus just flys all over.

This just can't be a good thing!

Answer: You didn't say what kinds of trees you have in your front yard so it's difficult to make a determination about the benefit of the flying cottony masses. Some trees produce seed pods which rely on wind for dispersal. Examples are cottonwood, acacia and albizia. If the cottony masses are being produced by the trees, and if there is no visible damage to the trees (such as dead branches or leaves), my guess is that the masses are a natural occurance and need no treatment at all. Once all the seed pods have all flown away, the annoyance will be gone - at least until next autumn, when the cycle will begin again.

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