Answer: Decaying bark at soil level can indicate overly wet soils or perhaps some weed whacker damage. Once the bark is damaged, all kinds of disease pathogens and insects can enter, causing all kinds of problems. Mushrooms always grow where there is decaying organic matter; dead roots, rotting bark, etc. Dead branches usually are symptoms of root problems. Since yours is such a valuable tree, I'd suggest contacting a local arborist to assess the health of your tree and make recommendations based upon their findings. I hope your tree can recover!
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