I have recently had a question answered re a Hawthorn tree in my hedge which is showing signs of rot , the very helpful answer was Turkey tail mushroom , my question now is this: It is an old hedge and I let the leaf fall in the Autumn lie at the base of the hedge hoping that this is a natural way, However I now wonder if there is some sort of soil deficiency or similar problem, and is there a way to determine this?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
In a natural environment, deficiencies are extremely rare. The turkey tail is a secondary infection. It is not the cause of the problem. Another soil borne infection was present or was introduced. The turkey tail will, simply, start decaying dead wood.
What likely happened was an accident involving an animal or breakage of a limb during the wet season. Birds and insects carry diseases, but the most likely reason is that the soil was already infected with something that attacks Hawthorns specifically and was introduced to the tree directly through open wound. You could plant anything not closely related to the tree in the same spot and you will see no issue at all.
If you would like to know the exact infection then you can take a sample to your local extension service which can be found at this link: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/extension-search
They will help you to determine the problem, but the soil can be fixed on its own by planting something completely different in its place. The soil borne infection will move on when there is nothing to consume or infect.