Tree Decay: Signs and Prevention in Clovis, CA

Learning to recognize the early signs of tree decay can help you save a beloved tree. It can also prevent extensive property damage due to a weak or dying tree toppling in a storm. In this article, Cut Rite Tree Service, your reliable provider of tree service in Clovis, explains the signs to look out for.

What Is Tree Decay?

Trees begin to decay when dead wood begins to break down. It can be a result of natural decomposition, a pathogen, or decay through fungi. The rot usually starts with tree injuries that allow the disease to access the heartwood. Depending on the type of tree and infection, it can also show up in the roots or sapwood.

As the tree decay progresses, the cellulose within the wood starts to break down. The areas become soft and start to lose structural integrity. As the tree diseases and rot spread, the tree becomes more unstable. 

Types of Tree Decay

When we talk about decay wood, we’re referring to one of three types of rot.

White Rot

This disease attacks every component of the tree. The fungus causes the tree to lose lignin, which leads to it becoming pale. This is because of oxidation bleaching.

The fungi itself will look different depending on the type. It may be: 

  • Mottled
  • Laminated
  • Spongy
  • Stringy

You’ll find this type of infection is most common in spruces, pines, and firs. As it progresses, it interferes more and more with the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. The plant will die if you don’t do anything.

Brown Rot

In this case, the fungus eats the carbohydrates. This, too, results in a paling of the tree due to oxidation. However, this fungus goes a step further in that it specifically attacks the fibrous tissue. The result is a smooth surface with virtually no give. 

There are several species to contend with, though most attack evergreens like firs, spruces, and pines. The rot may enter through tree wounds or spores attacking the tree.

Soft Rot

This type isn’t likely to appear in living woody tissue. It will usually affect fleshy vegetables like carrots, eggplants, and potatoes. That said, it’s still worth rooting out because it’s very damaging. It attacks the cellular walls.

Signs of Decay

If you suspect an issue, it’s best to consult a certified arborist. This is to give you the best chance of saving your tree. If that’s impossible, the arborist can give you a risk assessment. 

Want to know what to look for? Here are some signs:

  • Cracks or holes in the bark
  • Leaf discoloration
  • Dead branches or areas of the trunk
  • Abnormal growths or mushrooms on the trunk or roots
  • Sap oozing out
  • Root damage
  • Peeling or crumbling bark
  • Cavities under the surface of the bark

Contact Our Team for the Solution

The signs of tree decay are similar to those of many tree diseases. Therefore, it’s easy to misdiagnose an issue. Make sure you get it right the first time by calling Cut Rite Tree Service at 559-320-7723 for an expert consultation. 


We are a locally owned company that prides ourselves in providing the best service possible for the residents of Fresno, Clovis, Madera, Sanger, Folwer, Reedley and the surrounding areas.

Contact Us

1806 N Temperance
Fresno, CA 93727


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