tree care

How Poor Drainage Can Create Root Rot in Trees

Roots are the foundation of your trees and essential to their health and longevity. However, buried out of sight, roots in poor condition often go unnoticed until it is too late. Diseases, soggy soil, and drought affect root health. When these inhospitable soil conditions exist, they can lead to many root diseases, collectively referred to as root rot. Poor drainage is a leading cause of these issues, and it often takes the expert eye of a skilled arborist to identify root-related tree problems. How does poor drainage create root rot in trees?

Soil, Water, and Air in Balance are Essential to Tree Health

Proactive care is essential in preventing root rot. While some trees can adapt to wet environments, most trees will weaken and prematurely die when exposed to growing conditions lacking the proper balance of soil, water, and air. When high soil moisture persists, fungal spores lying dormant in the ground germinate, infecting roots and causing them to rot and die.

Signs of Root Rot Include

  • Yellowed, wilted leaves
  • Distorted, small, or twisted leaf growth
  • Thinning canopy with leaf drop
  • Foul odor and dark reddish-brown to black trunk/root discoloration
  • Fans of white fungi or dark, stringy rhizomorph threads at the tree base/roots

Diagnosing and Treating Root Rot

The expansive, subterranean nature of tree roots make it difficult to identify root rot, so getting a professional assessment is essential. Our tree care experts can inspect your soil for signs of moisture accumulation, identify tree root damage, and assess the surrounding soil or water using diagnostics to determine the likelihood of diseases such as Armillaria, Phymatotrichum, Xylaria, or Phytophthora. We test for them when verification is required, and offer several treatment options for root rot fungi damage, helping you save your valuable trees before it’s too late by:

  • Monitoring soil conditions and reducing saturation
  • Addressing irrigation and drainage problems
  • Adding organic matter to improve soil drainage and health and encourage the growth of beneficial microorganisms
  • Introducing environmentally friendly biologicals like Trichoderma to outcompete root rot inducing fungi
  • Applying fungicide when necessary to save trees

Is poor drainage creating root rot in your trees? Proactively address the issue now, before the damage progresses. Contact Arborwell Professional Tree Management at to make an arborist assessment request today.

drainage, root care, root disease, tree health

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