How to Tell If a Tree Is Rotten

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Check trees for signs of decay
Check trees for signs of decay (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A tree can look healthy but have a decaying core. This is because wood rot fungi attack the core of the tree, while the vascular system under the tree bark operates as usual. Owners often do not learn the true condition of the tree until large sections of it fall because of a strong wind or heavy storm. Fortunately, there are physical signs that indicate the presence of tree rot. It is important to check trees regularly for these signs of decay. Cut down a rotten tree to prevent harm to people and surrounding structures.

Inspect the trunk of the tree for signs of wood rot. Visible signs include discolored sections, missing bark and wounds.

Check the trunk and base of the tree for mushrooms or insect activity. Fungi and insects feed on decaying matter, which aids the process of decomposition. The presence of insects and fungi is an indication of tree rot.

Examine the area surrounding the tree for red dust. This is rot. It builds up within the heart of the tree or around the base of the tree.

Contact an arborist for an inspection if you are still uncertain about the condition of the tree. The arborist can check the inside of the tree for a definite answer without harming a healthy tree.

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