Dry Rot is a wood rotting fungus. There is only one Dry Rot fungus but a great many Wet Ret Fungi They decay timber by digesting the parts of it that give the wood its strength and thick density. According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_rot), the term ‘ Dry Rot’ was once used solely to identify the fungus that decayed the wood in sailing ships and other structures.
This form of decay turns the wood a distinctive brown colour, and the infected timber became cracked in large cubes called ‘cuboidal cracking’ and crumbled away.
Dry rot has four stages in its life cycle: a spore, a hyphae, a larger mass known as mycelium and finally a fruiting body that produces more spores. Let’s take a look at the four stages in more detail.
Dry rot begins its life as tiny spores, these spores remain inactive until they come in contact with timber and enough moisture to make them active. Typically 20 percent moisture content is enough to make the fungus spores start to attack timber.
The second stage of dry rot is a hypha. A hypha is a long branching structure of a fungus – typically what fungus spores will grow into if left untreated. Dry rot hyphae are identifiable by the white fine stringy strands that become visible both inside and outside the timber. These strands allow the fungus to grow rapidly inside the timber.
The mycelium is the name given to a collection or mass of hyphae. Myceliums are the vegetative part of fungi and can spread very far in masonry and behind wall plaster in search of timber to attack, so you should be sure to treat any infected timber quickly. If left untreated for too long mycelium will grow and spread-out into a thick mass, before turning into its fourth and final stage.
Sporophores or Fruiting Bodies
The fruiting body is the final stage of the Dry Rot fungus’s life cycle. The fruiting body takes on a mushroom like appearance and it produces Dry Rot spores that it emits from the surface to be carried along by air currents out into the air. Fruiting bodies are formed by the fungi when it detects changes in its conditions. The fruiting body is created as an attempt to preserve the lifespan of the fungus by emitting spores to other areas of the property, effectively starting the Dry Rot fungus life cycle all over again.