What are 'tree ears' and are they bad news for your trees?

Jul 4, 2018

Understanding 'Tree Ears'

In the world of trees, fascinating growth formations are not uncommon. One such growth is known as 'tree ears', which often grabs the attention of tree enthusiasts and arborists alike. These peculiar mushroom-like formations, scientifically referred to as 'Ganoderma applanatum', can be found on the trunks or roots of trees.

The Nature of 'Tree Ears'

Tree ears, also known as shelf fungi or bracket fungi, are typically flat or semicircular in shape, resembling the appearance of a human ear. They vary in color, ranging from brown and beige to rust-colored hues. These growths primarily thrive on the dead or decaying wood of trees, aiding in the process of decomposition.

The Impact on Tree Health

When it comes to the impact of tree ears on the health of trees, it is crucial to consider their underlying cause. While tree ears themselves do not directly cause harm to healthy, well-established trees, they often indicate the presence of internal decay or rot. These conditions can weaken the structural integrity of the tree, making it vulnerable to further damage.

Tree ears can act as an external signal of more significant issues within the tree. If you notice these formations on the trunk or near the base of your tree, it's crucial to consult a professional arborist, such as the experts at Kimberly Ann’s Designs Studio, for a thorough assessment.

Identifying Tree Ears

Identifying tree ears requires a keen eye and knowledge of their distinct characteristics. Apart from their ear-like appearance, they exhibit certain defining features:

1. Size and Shape:

Tree ears can range in size, with some reaching several inches in diameter. They generally have a flat or rounded shape, resembling a shelf or bracket.

2. Texture:

The surface of tree ears is typically rough and woody, showing visible layers or rings.

3. Underside:

When examining tree ears, lifting them to observe the underside is crucial. The underside often reveals a series of small pores or lines, which are responsible for releasing spores for reproduction.

Tree Ears and Tree Care

If you discover tree ears on your trees, it's essential to take appropriate action to ensure the continued health and safety of your trees:

1. Professional Assessment:

Engage the services of a qualified arborist, like the experts at Kimberly Ann’s Designs Studio, to evaluate the extent of internal wood decay and determine the best course of action based on their findings.

2. Tree Removal:

In severe cases where the tree's structural stability is compromised, tree removal may be necessary to prevent any potential hazards. This decision should be made after consulting with a certified arborist.

3. Enhanced Tree Care Practices:

Implementing preventive measures, such as regular tree inspections, proper pruning techniques, and appropriate soil management, can help maintain the overall health of your trees and minimize the likelihood of tree ears and other issues.


In summary, tree ears are intriguing growth formations found on trees that can be both fascinating and indicative of underlying tree health issues. Recognizing these distinctive features and seeking professional advice from skilled arborists, like the experts at Kimberly Ann’s Designs Studio, can help ensure the well-being of your trees and the safety of your property. Stay vigilant and proactive in caring for your trees, and let the professionals guide you through any tree ear-related concerns.

Kay Brown
Amazing discovery! 🍄🌳😮
Nov 11, 2023