If you have an older tree in your yard with large cracks in the trunk, you may wonder whether or not water is entering these open spaces and making the tree rot from the inside. If so, look for the following signs that the tree on your property has a rotting trunk and may need to be removed:
Fungal Growth on the Trunk
Even if your tree does not have any overt signs of rotting, you can look around on the outside for this first sign. If you see fungi that resemble mushrooms growing on the side of your tree, there is a good possibility that the wood underneath is rotting.
Because fungi only grow in decomposing materials, the growth is most likely there because spores were able to take root under the bark where they could feed on the rotting wood. However, there is a possibility that the bark itself is rotting and feeding the growth. Go on to the next sections to find further evidence that the trunk is their food source.
Bark Falls When Barely Touched
Whether or not your find fungal growth, you can also tell from the outside of your tree's trunk whether or not it is rotting by touching the bark. If the wood beneath the bark has started to decompose, the bark will be loose because the wood is no longer able to support it.
To test the bark, run your hand along the trunk of the tree. If there is fungal growth, start with the area around it. If the bark comes off when you barely touch it, further investigation is needed.
Wood Under the Bark Is Spongy
After discovering that the bark of your tree is barely hanging on, it is time to test the wood to see if it is rotting. You can do this by checking to see if it has become soft and spongy.
This test can be done with your finger. On the areas where the bark fell off, press into the wood. If you are able to make an indentation, or the wood flakes when you touch it, it is likely rotten.
After finding the above signs, your confirmed suspicions may lead you to decide that the tree needs to be taken down. If so, contact a tree service so they can have someone verify that the tree is no longer safe and discuss your options for cutting it down and removing it from your property before it falls and either hurts someone or causes damage.
Contact a company like Pete & Ron's Tree Service, Inc. for more information and assistance.