Potential Decay IndicatorsThe number of potential indicators is considerably larger than positive indicators because they are based on the biology of decay in living trees and decay impacts on structural health. Potential indicators are important in decay assessment because relatively few trees with decay have positive indicators. In my research on decay, more than half of the trees I identified to have decay in the lower trunk, yet only very few had positive decay indicators. Therefore, it becomes necessary to rely on potential indicators to help identify trees that might have decay, but do not have positive indicators.
Indicators for Root DecayPositive indicators for fungi that decay larger tree roots are primarily the same as those seen in stems, except the fungal fruiting bodies are attached to the roots. Cavities, conks, or mushrooms at the base of a tree often indicate root decay, because many of the fungi that cause butt rot also decay roots. A few decay fungi may fruit on woody roots at an extended distance from the tree trunk, but in all cases they are attached to a woody root.
If you are concerned about the condition of your trees, it is best to consult a professional. Your local tree service or a certified arborist will properly assess your trees. The professional staff at Trees "R" Us, Inc. is highly qualified in tree care and maintenance. We have 4 certified arborists that have been trained in identifying tree decay and will provide you with the best, most accurate advice about your plants and trees.