What to Expect When a Tree Is Rotting Inside

tree is rotting insideTree service companies see it all the time: they get the call to trim a tree for a client, but then they discover the tree is rotting inside. Next thing you know, the project turns into a tree removal. The homeowner is left wondering how they didn’t even know the tree was diseased. They lose a great shade tree, a tire swing, and an historic specimen that has been enjoyed by many generations. How does this even happen? How can a tree be rotting inside without anyone knowing?

Heart rot is an extremely common disease that affects hardwood trees around the world. It’s characterized by rotting of the center flesh of the tree’s branches or trunk, causing the wood to decay into powder. Heart rot fungus enters the three through wounds in the bark. Mushrooms growing on the bark are a telltale sign of heart rot lurking inside the tree.

It takes years, sometimes decades, for heart rot to destroy the inside of a tree. Because it progresses so slowly, it’s common for people to have no idea what’s going on until the disease has ravaged the entire plant. Plus, most people don’t know that if mushrooms are growing on a tree’s bark, it’s a bad sign.

Some trees are very good at compartmentalizing heart rot. This means that the tree can limit the areas of the trunk or limbs that the fungus can access. That’s why you might see cavities develop in trees where limbs were removed years ago, but the tree seems to be healthy otherwise.

tree rotting insideCan a Tree with Heart Rot Be Saved?

If heart rot has not progressed past a branch or two, it can be possible to cut off the affected branches and save the rest of the tree. However, this can have a negative effect on the aesthetics of the tree. And, if the branch removal site is not carefully sealed, you could expose the tree to more disease and damage.

In cases of extensive heart rot, it’s ideal to remove the entire tree instead of pruning it. For some homeowners, this change in plans can be confusing, frustrating, and even heartbreaking. But a tree that is rotting on the inside is going to continue to slowly weaken and die. Eventually, a strong wind could topple the tree – and where might it land? On a car or on your house? It’s best to just remove this potential safety hazard.

tree rotSu-Tree has seen a thousand tree pruning projects turn into tree removal operations due to the discovery of heart rot. Our crews will always advise the homeowner of the situation and make a recommendation based on the conditions at the site. We know that making the decision to remove a tree can be difficult, and that’s why we find it important to answer all of your questions and help you understand you’re making the right choice.

Call Su-Tree at (404) 392-6935 for more information about removing a tree that’s rotting inside.