Tree Rot: Types, Signs, Treatment & Prevention

One of the clear signs of tree rot includes a steadily deteriorating tree. Heart rot disease is another name for tree rot and is mostly due to fungal infection.

Here, we’ll be providing you with all the relevant information or all there is to know about this tree condition.

Tree rot can be heartbreaking for a lot of persons especially when their favorite tree is affected. One of the realities of this tree disease is the fact that it mostly infects mature trees.

This is quite disappointing considering all the effort put into growing such trees.

Types of Tree Rots

Tree rot is a real problem that trees face.

This happens at various parts of the tree including the roots. Now, the different types of tree rot include soft rot, brown rot, butt rot, root rot, sap rot, heart rot, and white rot.

All of these are conditions of tree decay you’ll need to guard against if your trees are still safe. However, when fungal infection leading to rot happens, you’ll need to be able to identify the rot for better treatment.

  • Soft Rot

This type of tree rot is mostly due to fungal and bacterial infection. Lignin, (the complex organic polymer deposited in cell walls for strength), cellulose, and hemicelluloses found in trees are broken down.

This process happens and spreads slowly and isn’t as damaging as other rot types. However, when the fungus Kreutschmaria deusta is involved, the rot could be quite extensive.

Despite this rot not being as significant as other types, it doesn’t do your tree any good at all. This type of rot is most common to broadleaf trees.

  • Brown Rot

This is a more severe type of tree rot that is caused by the basidiomycotina fungi. Unlike the situation obtainable in soft rot where the lignin is affected, this doesn’t apply here.

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In brown rot, fungi will act on cellulose and hemicelluloses by breaking them down.

A result of this destructive action is seen in brittle wood as well as a discoloration (dark brown), hence the name brown rot. Your tree’s condition worsens and begins to dry up. As it dries up, it slowly disintegrates into cutes.

Trees experiencing brown rot are structurally weak and are likely to readily give way under pressure as their structural integrity is badly affected.

  • Butt Rot

In most cases, butt rot in trees is moving from the root up the trunk. It could also be due to injuries sustained on the trunk. Like most types of rots, butt rot acts slowly and steadily and steadily deteriorates trees.

This is visible in the tree’s appearance and requires calling an expert for further probing.

  • Root Rot

As the name implies, this type of tree rot begins from and focuses on the root system.

There are several ways through which such rot comes about. Some of the ways include airborne or water-borne spores, as well as through actions such as root grafting on an infected tree.

When this fungal infection happens, it significantly reduces the root’s ability to convey essential nutrients for trees.

This situation impacts negatively on the tree.

  • Sap Rot

Unlike most types of tree rot, sap rot is common with deadwood. When found on live trees, they’re mostly located on dead areas or parts of such trees.

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Is this type of rot severe enough to cause structural failure? Not at all!

  • Heart Rot

True to its name, heart rot is a type of decay that acts from within or the heartwood. The tree trunk is mostly the target and begins from an injury sustained by a tree.

Now tree injuries are caused by several factors such as insect activity, fires, pruning, or mechanical damage among others.

  • White Rot

When white-rot sets in, the structural integrity of your tree is severely affected. It acts by breaking down the three main components that give every tree its structural strength (lignin, cellulose, and hemicelluloses).

You’re likely to see bulging on parts of the tree or bark resulting from the weight exerted as the tree becomes spongy and fibrous.

Are There Treatments For Tree Rot?

One of the first things anyone will think about when they suspect a problem with their trees is to seek help.

Unfortunately, tree rot is a more serious condition that can be hardly remedied. Once in, fungal infections can hardly be fixed as they damage a tree rapidly.

In most cases, only their damaging activities are observed. This is after the fungal infection must have been present for a considerable period of time.

Your best bet at tackling tree rot will be to avoid or prevent it in the first place. This is the only way to keep your trees safe.

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Signs of Tree Rot

Various signs reveal when a tree experiences rot. These range from leaning trees, dead branches, mushroom-like grown on the trunk, splitting trunks in a “V” shape, and fine dust seen near its base.

The truth is, these signs aren’t a confirmation of tree rot.

Rather, they’ll require further probing to determine or identify the problem. These could be signs relating to other tree ailments.

Preventive Action Against Rot In Trees

Adopting preventive action is your best bet at controlling tree rot. You might want to begin by ensuring your trees are always healthy.

Some basic tasks to consider include mulching around the trees. The mulch material should be placed in such a way that it doesn’t come into direct contact with the tree base or trunk.

Root growth can be enhanced by using fertilizers rich in phosphorus. Also, trees are most vulnerable to fungal attack when stressed. So, you’ll need to identify and eliminate whatever is likely to lead to stress.

These could include improper drainage or infestation by insects.

Pruning is also an important maintenance activity and a preventive action against tree rot. This should be targeted at dead branches and the cut area or wound be well-trimmed.

Tree rot is a real condition that results in the death of a lot of trees. The problem with this condition is that it can’t be treated. This calls for proper preventive action to be taken to forestall tree rot from happening in the first place.

We’ve provided you with tips on how to do this.

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