Bracket fungi are the fruiting structures of many different fungi that cause heartwood decay in standing trees. The fungal bodies or brackets appear in spring, summer and autumn, but weakened trees can topple at any time. Note that there are other fungi which also cause decay that are not bracket fungi.
There are many different types of bracket fungi, many which are specific to a particular host and often of little importance in gardens. Important ones that commonly do significant damage to garden trees include:
- Ash heart rot, caused by the bracket fungi, Inonotus hispidus, attacks Fraxinus (ash), Juglans (walnut), Malus (apple), Platanus (plane), Ulmus (elm) and other broad-leaved trees
- Beech heart rots, caused by the bracket fungi Ganoderma applanatum, G. adspersum attack a wide range of broadleaved hosts, especially Fagus (beech)
Although there are many different bracket fungi, they all cause similar symptoms, as mentioned below.