Unfortunately, nature sometimes takes its own course, and tree rot can occur. It’s not something any tree owner wants to happen, as it not only ruins the tree but can potentially spread to other plants in the yard as well. If you’ve noticed recently that your tree has begun to decay, or maybe it simply doesn’t look right, it may be time to call a professional arborist in to check it out. It could very likely be tree rot, and if it is, that’s something you want to nip in the bud quickly.
First off, what is tree rot? Tree rot is commonly referred to as heart rot disease. This is a fungal disease that’s mostly found in older trees. The disease does exactly what it sounds like it does—it rots your trees from the inside out. It usually starts either in the center of the trunk or the branches of the tree and then spreads throughout, attacking the entire tree until it kills it.
This can sound scary, right? But there’s good news. There are ways to prevent it. Here are some ways you can help to prevent tree rot from affecting your trees.
If you were considering adding mulch to the bottom of your trees, the short answer is you should. Not only is mulch pleasing to the eye, but it helps your trees grow and stay healthy. Mulch slows down the evaporation of the water that trees need, helping to maintain the moisture levels of the soil.
However, it’s important to make sure that the mulch isn’t directly adjacent to the base of the tree. A good way to prevent this is to leave a few bare inches of ground between the mulch and the root crown. This will ensure any excess moisture is eliminated. Mulch should be, at most, piled three to four inches high and spread to about three feet in diameter around the tree. However, this does vary depending on the size of the tree.
If you prefer, wood chip mulch is a great option as well. It’s an organic mulch, which means that it will decompose and disappear after a while, and you will have to replenish it more often for it to be most effective.
Regularly look at your trees. If you notice something out of the norm, such as insect infestation or limited drainage, these are stressors for your tree. Just as stress takes a negative toll on humans, it takes a negative toll on trees as well. Plus, a tree that’s more stressed is much more susceptible to tree rot and other diseases. It’s not strong enough to fight against the disease. This is why it’s important to keep a lookout for anything that could be putting stress on the tree.
If you do find stressors, call a professional arborist to take care of the problem and evaluate your tree. They’ll make sure tree rot hasn’t already begun and that too much damage hasn’t already taken place. The good news is, if you find the stressors immediately, your tree should regain its full health.
Have you used fertilizer on your tree yet? If not, now is the time to start. But don’t just use any old fertilizer you have. Make sure that the one you’re using on your tree is packed with phosphorus. This is because phosphorus helps to promote root growth, meaning that the tree’s roots will be stronger, making the tree less susceptible to tree rot.
The most often recommended fertilizers for trees are those with the numbers 0-20-0 or 0-46-0. However, it’s a good idea to check with your local tree specialist to see which fertilizer is actually the best one for the species and size of your tree.
Pruning away the dead or injured branches on a tree is one of the most important parts of overall tree maintenance. It’s also an extremely beneficial way to prevent tree rot from happening in your trees. When dead or unhealthy branches remain on your tree, these branches take away energy from other parts of the tree. This energy is what the tree uses to heal itself. Be sure to also cut off any offshoots from the tree too.
Pruning is something that you can handle yourself. However, if you’re not experienced or not comfortable doing so, we urge you to call a professional tree service to do it for you. A wrong cut in pruning can do more damage to the tree, and invite a greater chance of rot, which is what you want to avoid.
As we mentioned above, tree rot can spread throughout the tree. Once it reaches the roots, the tree is at a greater risk of falling over. Additionally, a tree with tree rot is at risk of the trunk breaking or buckling at any time, which can cause similar damage. This may not only endanger your or a neighbor’s property, but it can injure or potentially kill any person in the vicinity of the tree when it does fall. This is a risk you don’t want to take. Making sure that a tree suffering from tree rot is taken care of quickly will prevent this.
For more information on tree rot, give us a call today or check out our “Tree Rot 101” post to learn more. If you’re uncertain whether your tree may already be suffering from tree rot, we urge you to take action, as it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Call a tree service like us and have a professional arborist come down to your property to evaluate. If tree rot is the case, we can guide you in the best course of action. If it’s not, we can further guide you in ways to prevent tree rot from happening.