Velvet Top fungus is a pleasant way to refer to a fungus that actually looks more like a cow pie. These unwelcome soggy brown visitors usually  form near conifers like white pine, spruce or fir trees, and can be indicative of root rot. Very often, the roots of trees will become infected through wounds as the fungus makes its way through the soil.

Here are two examples of what Velvet Top or cow pies can look like:

Many arborists used to think that this type of fungus only affected mature or elderly trees. New research indicates that trees of all ages can be stricken, and it is important to keep an eye out for their formation. They usually grow to a noticeable size during late summer and early fall, and will transport their nastiness into susceptible trees during times when the ground is saturated, like during a typical Northwest winter.

 Keep a Keen Eye Out For ‘Fruiting’ Conks

The examples pictured above are of “mature” conks that have “fruited”, meaning they have been active since before they were visible. When they have reached this stage, the damage to trees in their vicinity has already been done, and root rot might have taken hold. Telltale signs are if the tree becomes uprooted, or in extreme cases, the trunk becomes weakened and breaks.

Talk To a Consulting Arborist

Velvet Top, cow pies, or any other conks are a sure sign of trouble. Talk to a consulting  arborist about how to address this problem as soon as you become aware of it. The heavy rain and strong winds of winter could mean catastrophic failure in all types of trees if these fungi are left to flourish unchecked.