5 Signs You Have A Rotten Tree

Posted on: 9 February 2022

There are several types of rot that can affect a tree. Some, like brown rot, dry out a tree from the inside out, while others, like white rot, lead to wet and spongy wood. Rot types like soft rot are also deadly, but it takes a long time to affect the tree to the point you notice. Once rot in the heartwood of the trunk begins to compromise tree health, the only safe option is to have the tree removed.

1. Systematic Dieback

Rot tends to kill over a time span measured in years, sometimes even decades depending on the type of rot and tree, so once you see branches dying back you know the damage has progressed for some time and you need to remove the tree. A single branch may die back first, or you may notice wilting leaves and tip dieback on all the branches. The damage will quickly progress to the remaining tree.

2. Trunk Fungal Growth

Rot inside the heart of the trunk is often accompanied by a fungal infection, either as a cause or side effect depending on the type of rot. You may see mushrooms sprouting from the base of the trunk or along the trunk itself, depending on how much rotted wood is present. Seeping wounds on the bark or the white hairs of a fungal mycelium network may also be present on the trunk.

3. Splitting Bark and Cracks

As the wood inside rots the exterior part of the trunk may crack open. When you peek inside the cracks you may see a hollow if the heartwood has completely rotted away, or there may be loose and crumbling rotten wood still present. As the rot progresses trunk cracking and bark splits will likely worsen.

4. Poor Anchor Rooting

Trees suffering from internal rot often begin to lean, especially if there has been lots of rain to loosen the soil and wind to aid in movement. The cause is rotting in the anchor roots so that the tree is no longer safely held in place. Prompt removal is needed, as a leaning tree can be a major hazard.

5. Trunk V Divisions

Heart rot can affect the growing pattern in trees, especially in the earlier stages. The trunk may begin splitting into multiple trunks, and often these trunks have a V-shaped joint at the split instead of the healthier U-shaped split. Splitting into multiple stems already weakens a tree, and the weak splits of trunks with internal rot make them more prone to cracked trunks at the trunk join. 

Contact a tree removal service if you suspect rot is turning your landscape tree into a hazard.


identifying issues with your trees

Do you know how to identify a sick or troublesome tree? Are there trees that hang over your home? Do you have trees that aren't quite as beautiful as they once were? I have created my blog to help as many people as possible identify and resolve problems with trees. Whether your tree is sick and needs attention, or if the tree is hanging over your home, causing roofing problems, you can learn a lot about what course of action to take by visiting my blog. Hopefully, you can find all of the information you need to save your trees and know when it is time to take them down.