Summary The density of Armillaria gallica epiphytic rhizomorphs on tree collar was mapped in a young stand of pedunculate oaks (Quercus robur). A quick method to estimate the rhizomorph density was developed, investigating 19 trees, and was used in the subsequent study. The method consists of measuring the frequency of rhizomorphs present on a grid applied to an exposed small area of the tree collar. The pattern in tree collar rhizomorph density was closely related to the pattern of stump colonization by Armillaria and stumps were therefore important as inoculum sources. Rhizomorph density on tree collar showed a strong aggregated spatial pattern which could not be explained by variability in the soil characteristics, in particular waterlogging, or by a spatial pattern in tree vigour. Moreover, rhizomorph density on tree collar did not depend on their dominance status.