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ritna Rowan is looking poorly. bark spilt on main trunk, branches look dried and have yellow fungus? it has buds but doesnt look good. Ive trawled the net but cant find any definite anserws. anyone got any idea whats wrong?



 oops that took a while!

Gary Hobson

There were several threads last year about poorly rowan trees.

The consensus of opinion seemed to be that rowan trees require very good drainage, and the trees affected were growing on wet or waterlogged soil, made worse by the very wet Summer.


One of those trees was mine. It now has a blue-ish fungus growing on many of the branches...

I don't know if that's the same type of fungus as yours or not. As far as I can determine, this type of fungus commonly grows on rotting wood.


thanks...I think you're probably right about the soggy did go down hill last summer, was ok year before. I might need to get the local surgeon to have a look...


At least it's not ash dieback.  Ministry of Food & Fisheries or whatever it's calling itself nowadays has said that Rowan (mountain ash) is immune to ash dieback, thank goodness.

Does anyone know how to propoagate rowans?  I'm moving later this year, and I'd love to take a cutting or something of my original, well established rowan at the bottom of the garden.  It's home to a pair of blackbirds that make me laugh (they're very tame for blackbirds, we've known each other for a few years now and they know I'm harmless, but a good source of worms & slugs), so I'd love to have another tree in my new garden.

My rowan has kept lots of birds fed, I normally replenish the bird table, I haven't been able to keep up with demand this year, but it's kept a lot of birds alive, not many berries left now - not seen it this denuded EVER.


The stuff growing on the branches (and definitely in Lyon's photo) looks like lichen.  If so, that is nothing to worry about whatsoever as it grows only on the surface and indicates you have excellent air quality (lichen will not grow where there is air pollution.)  The split bark is more worrying and if it is from ground level, try peeling back a small section along the crack and have a sniff.  If it smells strongly of mushrooms, it could be the dreaded honey fungus.


oh thanks


Lyon's photo is definitely lichen as Bob says. In Dordogne, where I live there is masses of it and the air is very pure.


Update on the yeae its had since i moved here....yep, nothing to worry about....its absolutely gloriously covered with absolutely masses of berries...


Good news then, thanks for the update.

I have two large well established rowans in my garden and the larger one has the splitting bark on main trunk and many of the larger branches too. A few years ago I took the first big branch off that was displaying the splitting bark and the sectioned log showed half the branch was dead, brown and seasoned looking whilst the top half was still green. Is this typical of the honey fungus? and does it spread. I think I will have to take the larger rowan out this year Fortunately some of the seeds have self propagated and I have some young trees in pots. If replanting on the same site, should I leave it for s few years to let the ground live a bit or should I go for something like as willow as the ground in West Lothian is full of clay and not good at draining? 


Rowans are easily propagated from seed. Gather some of your berries and place in sand in a pot to over winter then sow in seed compost in spring. The young plants grow fast.

My Rowan tree looks diseased this year. The leaves are mottled or spotty with brown marks. I've  looked at fireblight and it's not that. It's the first time this tree has suffered anything like this but it has produced berries. Any ideas? Many thanks.

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