How to Detect Rotten Trees

Healthy trees contribute to the overall well-being of our environment. However, a tree's vitality can be compromised by internal decay and rot, posing a potential risk to property and safety. In this blog, we'll explore the key signs of a rotten tree.

Recognizing the Signs of Tree Decay

Cavity Formation

Inspect the trunk for visible cavities or holes. These recessed areas can indicate that the inner core of the tree has decayed and weakened.

Cracks and Splits

Long, vertical cracks in the trunk or branches may be indicators of internal decay. These cracks can compromise the tree's structural integrity, especially during storms.

Fungal Growth

Fungi thrive on decaying wood, so the presence of mushrooms, conks, or other fungal growth around the base of a tree or on its trunk can be a strong sign of internal rot.

Soft or Crumbly Wood

Gently tap the trunk and major branches with a hammer or your knuckles. If you notice a hollow, dull sound or the wood feels soft and spongy, it could be a sign of internal decay.


Cankers are areas of dead bark and underlying wood. If you notice cankers spreading around the tree's trunk, it could indicate decay or disease.

Unexpected Leaf Loss

If a tree loses leaves outside of its normal seasonal cycle, it could be due to a decrease in overall health caused by internal decay.

Taking Action


If the decay is limited to certain branches, strategic pruning can help mitigate risks and improve the tree's overall health. A certified arborist can determine which branches should be removed.


In some cases, cabling or bracing may be necessary to support weakened branches and prevent them from falling.

Tree Removal

If the internal decay is extensive and poses a safety risk, tree removal might be the best option. A professional arborist can safely remove the tree and its debris.

Identifying and addressing tree decay is crucial for maintaining a safe and beautiful outdoor environment. Regular inspections, knowledgeable assessments from certified arborists, and appropriate action are key to preserving the health of your trees and ensuring the safety of your property and loved ones. By staying vigilant and proactive, you can enjoy the benefits of thriving trees while minimizing potential risks.