The Q&A Archives: Oak Root Fungus

Question: We recently lost a Chinese Elm tree to oak root fungus. I want to plant roses in the area where it was. What should I do to prepare the soil for the planting of the roses. Also, what should I do to prevent the fungus from killing our 200 year old oaks in the remainder of the yard?

Answer: Oak root fungus (Armillaria mellea) can destroy a variety of woody garden plants. You may be able to save lightly infected trees, or at least prolong their lives, by removing soil from their bases, exposing the juncture of roots and trunk to the air, and cutting out all destroyed and infected tissues. The fungus lives for many years in the root systems of plants it kills, and roots of susceptible plants that contact infected roots will be invaded by the fungus. Roses are not resistant, so consider planting Acacia, Japanese maple, ginkgo, jacaranda, mahonia or nandina in the spot instead.

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