3 Ways How to Tell if a Tree Is Rotten Inside

Tree diseases are more common than many realize since most of them strike inside the tree where the damage isn’t easily visible. And when disease does form, it slowly tears our plant life apart, which begs the question, “how do I know when my trees are rotting inside?” 

From wood decay to mysterious growths, here are the three easiest tips for how to tell if a tree is rotten inside.

1. Fungus Growing at the Tree Base

It’s challenging to identify most signs of decay within a tree without a thorough examination. However, there is one dead giveaway of internal decay that anyone can spot easily—fungus. 

One of the most common fungus types, varnish fungus, affects shade trees like oak and cedar through the root system and kills them slowly. Since varnish fungus does its damage near the soil, you’ll find these growths at the tree’s base. And while varnish fungus varies in color, texture, and size, it’s most often dark orange and has a smooth, almost reflective surface. 

Varnish fungus isn’t the only growth you have to look for on your trees. Even something as seemingly harmless as mushrooms growing near the base of your tree is a sign of disease.

2. Overly Dry or Moist Bark

Decaying bark is one of the less obvious warning signs of tree rot but is typically a clear indicator of disease. Specifically, if your tree feels dryer than usual or has a spongy texture, you know you’re dealing with diseased wood. 

Overly dry wood is a symptom of brown rot, the most severe of all common tree diseases. And while spongy wood comes from the less severe white rot, both can kill your trees if you don’t treat them.

3. Wood Has Developed a Powdery Texture

Another undeniable method for how to tell if a tree is rotten inside is checking for crumbling or powdery bark or wood. 

Wood that has rotted to the point of powder typically means your tree suffers from heart rot, a nasty disease that slowly weakens a tree from the inside of the trunk.

How to Prevent Your Trees From Rotting

Heart rot, fire blight, and other tree diseases destroy outdoor landscapes when left untreated. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to keep your trees from rotting or care for them if they are diseased.

Don’t Overwater

All trees have limits to how much water they can hold, and if you water them over that limit too frequently, your trees will grow rotten wood and a range of diseases. 

To avoid this risk, either research how much water your trees need by species and size, purchase an automatic irrigation system, or simply trust the job to Urban Jacks Tree Service Bryant’s top-rated tree service contractor.

Be Careful With Heavy Machinery

Trees are delicate fixtures with bark and root systems that break easily, despite their size. So if you’re careless with operating machines like lawnmowers and construction equipment around them, you might inadvertently harm them and provide diseases a weaker target. 

If you’re going to use heavy equipment near your trees, either place protective barriers around the base or work a few feet away from the tree to keep the roots intact.

Call for Professional Help

Caring for trees and knowing how to tell if a tree is rotten inside is challenging without experience. Luckily, an expert tree contractor from Urban Jacks Tree Service can keep your trees growing healthy, care for trees suffering from disease, or remove those too rotten to nurse back to health. Call Urban Jacks Tree Service today at (501) 547-4018 to learn about the symptoms of fire blight and other tree diseases or receive a free service estimate.

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