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F. fomentarius causes extensive white mottled rot in the wood of living and dead deciduous trees. The incipient stage of wood decay first appears as a light-brown discoloration, the wood remaining quite firm. With advanced decay the wood becomes yellowish-white, soft and spongy, and frequently contains brown to black zone lines (Boyce, 1938). Small radial cracks, filled with yellow mycelium, may develop giving the decay a mottled appearance. Infection of living trees occurs through branch stubs and wounds.
There are no control measures currently recommended to prevent or reduce the decay of trees. Avoidance of mechanical stem injuries and proper pruning of branches may minimize damage, but these procedures are restricted to intensive, high-value stands or ornamental trees (Hiratsuka, 1987). Wound treatments, such as physically or chemically coating the stem wounds, may be effective in preventing invasion by the fungus. Some control may also be achieved by the removal of dead trees bearing sporophores (Allen et al., 1996). Early harvesting of stands before decay losses reach economically unacceptable levels can minimize damage. In aspen, there is significant clonal difference in the amount of decay (Wall, 1971), which could be an important factor for genetic improvement in the future.
Trees with advanced decay are unmerchantable as timber. Incipient decay or staining of the wood also makes it undesirable.