Alas, my 60-some-year-old black locust tree (Robinia pseudoacacia) may be on the way out. Both of the red-belt conk (Fomitopsis pinicola) shelf fungi featured above sprouted suddenly last summer. They're both about 8 in (20 cm) wide and are approximately 8 in (20 cm) above the ground surface. These fungi may indicate that there's dead wood at the base of the tree. Note that the fruiting body on the photo at bottom is brown and rather dried out. This one's on the south side of the tree and receives a lot of direct sunlight. However, its purplish red neighbor (top photo) found on the north side of the trunk, has retained its color.
Other than the unsightly growths, the tree seems healthy with decent growth in the canopy last summer. I estimate that the trunk and branches weigh perhaps 18,000 lbs (8 metric tons), without leaves, and that it's a little over 33 ft (10 m) in height and is 7 ft (2.25 m) in diameter at breast height. It's placed on the southeast corner of our suburban lot where my wife and I have lived for 46 years -- arriving after the tree was already a sapling, but only about 4 in (10 cm) in diameter. Trees grow whether you notice them or not! If this big fella has to go there would certainly be a lot of firewood I could burn and leftover wood for fencing too, but all in all, I hope he's healthy enough to stick around a few more years.
Photo Details: Top - Camera Maker: Apple; Camera Model: iPad 2; Lens: Apple; Focal Length: 2.0mm (35mm equivalent: 44mm); Aperture: ƒ/2.4; Exposure Time: 0.017 s (1/60); ISO equiv: 50. Bottom: Same except - Exposure Time: 0.0032 s (1/315); ISO equiv: 40.