The radio silence for the past five days has been because I was away on holiday. Of course, that didn’t mean I was away from the realm of trees, as I managed to visit a few forests and woodlands, the RSPB reserve at Minsmere, and also explore the local landscape. Ironically, for all the searching I did in heavily-treed landscapes (Dunwich Forest, Reydon Woods, and the wooded area at Minsmere), one of the ‘best’ finds was by pure chance whilst walking through a local village going back to my car after walking through Reydon Woods. Around the base of a large roadside oak (Quercus robur), sat the remnants of some old Pseudoinonotus dryadeus sporophores.
Evidently, the location of the tree, its lean (with the direction of the prevailing wind from the south west), and the presence of sporophores on two sides of the base (the southern side and the eastern side), may make a proper assessment of the tree quite a necessity. Ideally-speaking, some sonic tomograms (PiCUS / ARBOTOM) and resistograph readings can be taken, to enable any management decisions to be supplemented with results from investigations into the structural properties of the wood around the base of the tree. On the southern side, we can indeed see that the sporophore emanated from between two buttresses, suggesting that some reaction growth has been laid down (this correlates with the fungus’ common name ‘ eiffel-tower fungus’). However, on the eastern side no such buttressing exists.
In terms of how the decay got there, a resident actually came out to speak with me about the tree when he saw I was taking photos. Turns out there were trenching operations for gas works in the very near locale a few years ago, and therefore perhaps the damage incurred at that point is a factor to consider (at least, when it comes to assessing the structural integrity of the tree, as the road seen in the images and the trenching was to the south-western side; this is the tension side of the tree, due to the prevailing winds). Of course, the presence of a quite marked buttress zone suggests that perhaps the decay pre-dated this trenching work, though this is again only an assumption. Not having lived in the area, or having any wider amount of context, my speculations are just that.