Revised Book Will Aid Field ID of Wood Decay Fungi

Hot off the press as of August 2022, Wood Decay Fungi Common to the Northeast and Central United States, 2nd Edition, by Christopher J. Luley, Ph.D., is now available at the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) online bookstore.

Most arborists may recognize the name Christopher Luley. After all, he has been a regular contributor to both Tree Care Industry Magazine and Arborist News for a couple of decades now. Many of you may own a slightly tattered copy of the first edition of his book by the same name, published in 2005. Make room for another one to go beside it on the shelf – or in the truck.

When that first edition came out, two things stood out about it. My first thought was, “Here’s a book written and illustrated with many colored pictures for an arborist like me.” Truly a visual-identification guide. I also marveled at the way Chris had formatted the book. The left page consisted of all the pertinent information an arborist in the field would need to know. Basic information, simply written and easy to understand. The right page consisted of at least a half-dozen color photos of the fungus, and at times a photo of the affected tree at the point where it failed.

The book was then, and is again now, written with the arborist in mind. It’s more than just a fungi-identification guide. The book also is devoted to the basics of tree decay. It assists in your making sound decisions by giving sound advice you can use when advising a client. For each fungus described in the book, Luley also tells you the type of decay, its mode of action, how frequently it occurs and tree-health symptoms associated with it. He also discusses the importance of the fungus to the arborist or urban forester as it relates to trees planted in the urban landscape or to street trees. Other useful information or concerns are included in the notes section at the bottom of the page.

After 17 years, the second edition of Wood Decay Fungi of Living Urban Trees is a complete rewrite of the popular first edition. This beautiful manual is a soft-cover, wire-bound book consisting of 145 pages and 328 full-color photos. Fifty different fungi commonly found on urban trees in the Northeast and central United States are described. Over the past 17 years, much has been learned and much has changed, including the names of some fungi. All the name changes are updated in this edition, along with new information and photographs derived from Luley’s continued research.

In the second edition, Section 1, titled “Introduction to Wood Decay Fungi,” has been greatly expanded. Chris begins right off the bat with The Big Five Must-Know Decay Fungi of Urban Living Trees in Order of Importance. Section 2, “Visual Identification Guide,” contains twice as many fungi descriptions and photos than the 2005 edition.

In conclusion, field identification of wood decay fungi is often tentative and may require additional research and confirmations. This manual will make that process easier.

Steven F. Pregler is an ISA Certified Arborist and a retired city forester for the City of Dubuque, Iowa.

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