It would be very rare to go on a walk in the woods and not find a bracket fungus attached to the bottom of a tree. While very pretty and whimsical looking, this beautiful fungus is actually an indicator that the tree is doomed. While the tree will not die immediately, it could shorten decades off it’s life.
There are many different types of bracket fungi. Here’s a great link that illustrates various types.
How do trees get bracket fungi? When a tree has a sore (an open spot caused by a falling tree, metal object, storm damage, etc), it’s susceptible to fungi spores. Once they’ve entered the unprotected part of the tree, they make their home.
How can one prevent bracket fungi from forming on an injured tree? Opinions differ on this. Some people think it’s best to just leave it and let nature take it’s course. Others say it’s important to use a tree spray to keep bugs and fungi spores out of the opening. I suppose this would make a great experiment if you had damage to a couple trees in a storm! The most important thing is to teach children (and adults!) not to harm trees.
Next time you head out to the woods, be on the lookout for bracket fungi! Here’s a printable you can bring with you, and put into your science journal: Outdoor Adventure Bracket Fungi.
Bracket Fungus is also sometimes known as Artists Conch, because the bottom can be etched. Here is an example of really beautiful bracket fungi art!
Here is some artwork that the kids did. Isn’t it cool?
If you do a bracket fungus nature adventure, please post a link to your blog post. We’d love to see what you’re up to!