Welcome to part two of our A – Z guide. So let’s now take a look at the latter end of the alphabet and see what else we can discover about dry rot.
M is for Mycelium
A mycelium is the name given to the third stage of the dry rot fungi’s life cycle. A mycelium is basically a collection of hyphae and is made once more and more spores have germinated. A mycelium can spread very far in its search for timber to attack.
N is for Navy
The navy has a long history with dry rot and many of the first instances of the actual term dry rot being used can be linked back to the navy. Thomas Wade’s paper “A Treatise on the Dry Rot in Timber” was actually first published posthumously by the Navy Office in 1815. Although later knowledge has made it clear that the dry rot back then was actually what we now term brown rot.
O is for Orthodox
As in orthodox treatment. While there are many treatments to dry rot, the traditional orthodox method is as follows. The first step is to cut out any of decaying wood and plaster, then clean all the surfaces within the area with a wire brush, then apply fungicide to the surfaces.
P is for Paradoxical
While we now know dry rot does require water to germinate it was once believed it didn’t, hence the use of the word “dry”, making the term itself a paradoxical one, as it is not really dry at all.
Q is for Queen Charlotte
The Queen Charlotte was one of the first naval ships to be diagnosed with a suspected case of dry rot. The vessel was launched in 1810 and was the second ship to bear the name Queen Charlotte. In 1816 when the ship was inspected and the dry rot was discovered, the vessel’s repair costs would have exceeded the original cost of constructing the vessel itself.
R is for Repair
Repairing the damaged structures after an outbreak of dry rot can be a laborious task but the good news is in a high percentage of cases the damage can be fixed. Of course the longer the problem has been left untreated the harder and the more extensive the repairs will be.
S is for Serpula lacrymans
Serpula lacrymans is actually the full scientific and species name for the dry rot fungus. The name is derived from the Latin words Serpula and Lacrymans. Serpula means “creeping” and lacrymans roughly translated means “making tears” or “weeping.”
T is for Temperature
The temperature plays an important part during the growth of dry rot. If the temperature is between – 5°C and +5°C then dry rot has the minimum level needed for its spores to germinate, though 15°C – 22°C is the optimum temperature.
U is for Under
As in under floor boards or under the shower. It’s not rare to see dry rot spreading in these places and because it can be – quite literally – happening under your feet, the problem can be unwittingly ignored for long periods of time.
V is for Ventilation
Ventilation is important as it helps reduce the risk of dry rot developing because it is usually seen in badly ventilated damp areas. So if you have had repeated infestations of dry rot then you should consider trying to add more ventilation to the room.
W is for Water
It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that water is another of the key components needed for dry rot to develop. It is thought Dry rot also has the added ability of being able to transport water from a wet area to a dry area to continue its activity in breaking down the timber.
X is for Xylaria
Xylaria is likely something many people won’t see. That being said, it’s still something you should know about just in case. Xylaria is a genus of wood decaying fungus, commonly found growing on dead trees. It’s very unlikely you’ll see this in dry rot but it’s something to be aware of especially if the wood used to make your furniture comes from already infected trees.
Xylaria can grow between 3 – 7 centimetres and are white in colour, although the base of them is black. They are commonly known by the names stag’s horn and candle-snuff fungus.
Y is for Young People
Dry Rot spores are present in many homes and places of work – they’re pretty much always floating around there in the atmosphere. Dry Rot spores themselves aren’t harmful but if they start to germinate the resulting dry rot can cause some issues for younger people and the elderly. This is rare but can be more of a problem with those two categories of people, especially if they suffer from respiratory conditions.
Z is for Zararlı
Zararlı is Turkish for harmful (yes, we cheated at little with the letter Z!). While dry rot itself isn’t overly harmful (though see letter Y above), it can cause serious harm if left untreated. For example, In June of this year an investigation behind a balcony collapse in Berkley, California – that left 6 people dead and 7 more injured – was found to have likely been caused by dry rot.
So you should always make sure to carefully inspect your timbers regularly and if you spot dry rot you should treat it as soon as possible.
More info on our dry rot treatment services.