Tree Root Rot
Tree root rot is a condition many trees and other plants can develop due to improper care or poor living conditions where a tree’s roots begin to rot beneath it, effectively cutting off a supply of nutrients and water from the soil and killing it from the ground up. Though any kind of tree could potentially fall victim to root rot, oak and dogwood are two species that are most commonly hurt by it.
The leading cause of root rot is persistently wet soil around the base of the tree. While all plants require water to survive, overwater only leads to trouble. With too much water for a plant to absorb, that moisture seeps into the ground and remains at the base of the plant, wetting the roots and causing them to rot.
The symptoms of root rot are easy to see. Firstly, a tree’s leaves may begin to wilt, change color, and/or fall off unseasonably, such as during the summer. They will also appear more wilted and wrinkled as if under the conditions of a drought. Additionally, the bark around the tree roots may appear darker, and cutting away some of the bark will show reddish brown spots. The wood may also feel spongier in these areas.
It usually takes a few years before a tree dies due to rot. Though you might potentially save it by improving water drainage or removing wet soil around the base, once rot begins to set in, it’s likely too late.