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Mycological Tree Assessment (MTA)

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As a following step after developing the concept of the dynamics of the Tree Species Specific Ecosystem (© Keizer, 2006/2010) of indigenous tree species, associated with ectomycorrhizal macrofungi, since 2008 I have been working on fine tuning the method of Mycological Tree Assessment (© Keizer, 2010), incorporating and integrating the TSSE-concept and the Visual Tree Assessment method developed by Claus Mattheck.

The MTA-method takes all tree species specific, but also the major non-species specific or generalistic ectomycorrhizal partners, saprotrophic and biotrophic or necrotrophic parasitic macrofungi, which play a role in the tree age corresponding succession in the tree species specific life and energy cycle, and the species specific functions and effects of the macrofungi associated with or living on/in/from the tree and the soil food web into account.

In a seperate post, a case study from 2010 is presented, which illustrates and documents the application of the MTA-method in vivo and in situ.

Edited by Fungus

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brilliant, I see you have copyright along side the term MTA, do you currently offer a training model as with Clauses VTA method, as yet or in future?

 

this is something special I feel and would very much like to add such a method to my tree inspection sheet/documents.

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I see you have copyright along side the term MTA, do you currently offer a training model as with Clauses VTA method, as yet or in future?

 

No, I'm still in the phase of try outs in the form of mini-symposia or outdoor workshops for Dutch tree managers and/or certified tree workers or tree technicians and of further own in vivo and in situ research before officially publishing the concept and offering training and education in the application of the MTA-method, for which quite a bit of mycological and ecological expertise will be needed beforehand.

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No, I'm still in the phase of try outs in the form of mini-symposia or outdoor workshops for Dutch tree managers and/or certified tree workers or tree technicians and of further own in vivo and in situ research before officially publishing the concept and offering training and education in the application of the MTA-method, for which quite a bit of mycological and ecological expertise will be needed beforehand.

 

I reckon i will be up to speed within 18months on the microscopic side.:thumbup1:

 

got a few books to purchase on subjects like the ecology of mycorhizea and such, any you would recommend on the subject?

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In this synopsis of a Mycological Tree Assessment case study, integrating the dynamics of the Tree Species Specific Ecosystem of Fagus sylvatica and its life cycle and the standard VTA-method, a summary of a report on a solitary beech is given.

At the request of the owner, autumn 2010 the condition a 175 years old beech was examined and evaluated.

The solitary tree was standing close to the monumental mansion of an old rural estate and was half way rounded by a drive way to the left and the back, which had 8 years before been resurfaced with grinded gravel, after which some of the major roots going out in that direction died.

From a distance, of half of the crown of the towards the frontal lawn and the house skewed tree, of which the major roots had grown outside the outer crown projection and underneath a frontal right lawn, the south sided frontal foliage was dense and of excellent quality, with the exception of the top back central part of the crown, of which the branches' ends partially were defoliated (photo 1). At this side the tree floor was covered with fertile fruits, mostly being close to the trunk's base, indicating that they originated from the better foliaged part of the (front central) crown.

At the left side and backside of the tree, the crown was only half foliated with light falling through (photo 2) on the densily with ivy covered soil. At this side, close to the base of the trunk, two clusters of Meripilus giganteus (photo 3) were present, the bigger one showing signs of panic reproduction. The annualy fruiting mycelium of this aggressive macrofungus had completely decayed two to three of the major roots and partially destroyed the under ground level root plate, causing the tree to slowly tip over to one side. The tree floor here also was covered with fruits, of which 70 % was sterile, a sign of panic fruiting of the beech.

At the front side, where the tree was in best condition, close to the stem several fruitbodies of Lactarius blennius (photo 4) were present, a tree species specific ectomycorrhizal symbiont, especially important for uptaking and delivering phosphor from the soil food web to the tree (roots) needed for blossoming and fruiting.

Also at the front (right) side and closer to the trunk several fruitbodies of Laccaria amethystina (photo 5) were found, indicating the beech had started a strategy of investing in passing on this ectomycorrhizal pioneer symbiont to its offspring by developing superficial secundary roots from the base of the trunk, which actually were found, by collecting rain water running down the trunk and uptaking nutrients from the soil, temporarely enhancing the foliage of and fruiting from the top front center of the crown and in this way "making a ready bed" for the fruits falling down the trunk with an energy reserve for 2 years to last the time needed for their roots to be colonized by the mycelium of the pioneer symbiont, which in its turn keeps its hyphal connection to the secundary roots of the "parent", until the seedling can stand on its own feet and the "umbilical cord" is cut.

At the left side, where the roots had been damaged most by pressure from and lack of oxygen underneath the drive way, hidden under ivy growing up the tree, rhizomorphs of a necrotrophic parasitic Armillaria species had caused the infected cambium to die and the bark to crack vertically over a lenght of 30 centimetres (photo 6).

As beeches are completely dependend on rain water and their roots avoid contact with ground water, the loss of parts of its major far outreaching root system was detrimental to the condition of the tree. On top of this, some major roots needed for stability were lost because of the white and soft rot caused by Meripilus giganteus and another major root lost contact with the tree because of the infection with the rhizomorphs of a cambiumkiller.

Conclusion : with only the root system to the front side of the tree intact, used to invest in offspring, and the age and prognosis of further deterioration of the tree considered, investments in its short term survival seem without due cause.

Advice : felling of the tree and because of the presence of rhizomorphs, replanting about 30-40 metres to the front and right, i.e. more to the centre of the lawn and away from the mansion.

 

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59765b1f8c90a_12.BeukbastscheurHoningzwam.jpg.91c0b9ad3f964d4dcbb2f1f1e5525dee.jpg

59765b1f88309_09.BeukLaccariaamethystina.jpg.c49c716b24d1614ed48f39a8e5523ac4.jpg

59765b1f826e9_08.BeukLactariusblennius.jpg.0d9fbe4cf23c2e893621f9ae177d224c.jpg

59765b1f7d5ce_11.BeukReuzenzwam.jpg.824e84b033dc030f86fc7bc9bb90b557.jpg

59765b1f77bf6_03.Beukijlekroon.jpg.de733b19eb9a6bb5e6ff8471db73bf9b.jpg

59765b1f721f6_01.Beukoverzicht.jpg.203bb642ec3b6041e397e446aa091978.jpg

Edited by Fungus

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so how long do you feel this tree would last?

 

Do fungi not fruit for other reasons than panic and or excess food supplies via root sugars?

 

Surely fungi fruit in order to produce a new mix gene population?

 

and last year I find beech with laccaria amythistina within the 3 ft region of trunk regulary in whip woods, does this mean they are about to fall?

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1. so how long do you feel this tree would last?

2. Do fungi not fruit for other reasons than panic and or excess food supplies via root sugars? Surely fungi fruit in order to produce a new mix gene population?

3. and last year I find beech with laccaria amythistina within the 3 ft region of trunk regulary in whip woods, does this mean they are about to fall?

 

1. The essence of the MTA-method is that one can neither evaluate, nor determine the condition and prognosis of a tree by diagnosing or identifying one element of the tree species specific ecosystem including the symbionts, saprotrophic and (other) parasitic macrofungi, i.e. the presence of fruitings of one necrotrophic parasite and its role in the succession in/of the life cycle of the tree alone.

2. Yes beeches (and lots of other trees) do, the difference lies in fruiting because of temporary wealth or overabundance of energy (70 % fertile seeds), in Dutch called a "mast" year, or fruiting out of poverty (70 % sterile seeds) in order to short term survive and pass on a pioneer symbiont to its own offspring while it still can, called panic reproduction.

3. No, it means the beech is either slowly deteriorating because of sickness, (not yet visible) parasites attacking or old age and is preluding on this by developing secondary roots colonized by Laccaria amethystina and only investing in its own genes (offspring) while it still can.

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1. The essence of the MTA-method is that one can neither evaluate, nor determine the condition and prognosis of a tree by diagnosing or identifying one element of the tree species specific ecosystem including the symbionts, saprotrophic and (other) parasitic macrofungi, i.e. the presence of fruitings of one necrotrophic parasite and its role in the succession in/of the life cycle of the tree alone.

 

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O.K so we are sort of using the pressence of them in combinations to reveal a further key/flag toward a complete/comprehensive prognosis ALONG side VTA for vitality, structural flaws and body lnguages associated with decay fungi?

 

rather than as a tool of assesment in a stand alone kind of way?

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so we are sort of using the presence of them in combinations to reveal a further key/flag toward a complete/comprehensive prognosis ALONG side VTA for vitality, structural flaws and body languages associated with decay fungi? rather than as a tool of assesment in a stand alone kind of way?

 

Correct, one has to take the actual state of all the elements or the Gestalt of the tree species specific ecosytem of the tree, combined with the phase in the life cycle of the tree, into account using the concepts derived from general (eco)system and communication theory, as it is also applied to nuclear family or other human based and many other natural or artificial systems.

One could compare the MTA-method including both other elements with a holistic view on the health and condition of people or on organisations and/or on other types of organisms living together in close interdependend relationships.

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