Water Flowing from Tree Trunk: Why It Happens

Why is there water flowing from the tree trunk? There are many reasons for this phenomenon. In this article, the professionals at Georgia Tree Company, the tree service experts in Milton, explain why this happens and what to do about it. 

water flowing from tree trunk

Is This a Sign of Trouble? 

When selecting and caring for trees, few people ever think about how water pressure can affect a tree trunk. If water is dripping from the trunk, your tree is crying for help. While we don’t usually think of trees in terms of plumbing, they consist of an intricate network. 

Leaks mean that something is seriously wrong.

Why Is Water Seeping Out?

Water flowing from the tree trunk is typically a sign of Slime Flux or Bacterial Wetwood. This is a bacterial infection that can affect almost any tree species at any time. While the liquid coming out of the bark looks like water, it’s actually a symptom of infection.

The bacteria infects the tree through injuries to the bark and produces gas in the cambium layers. This, in turn, causes an increase in pressure that forces liquid out through the bark. This run-off is slimy, smells bad, and stains the trunk brown or yellow.

What Trees Are More at Risk?

Are deciduous trees more at risk? The disease can affect all types of species but commonly occurs in the following:

  • Birches
  • Oaks
  • Maples
  • Poplars
  • Elms

How Dangerous Is This Bacterial Infection?

How much damage the bacteria can do depends on how healthy the tree is. A healthy tree will shrug off the infection quickly and suffer nothing more than stained bark. In some cases, the bacteria may even be useful because it stops fungal decay.

The position changes significantly with distressed trees. In a tree without leaves or one suffering from drought stress or pest damage, the bacteria cause more damage. You might see leaf discoloration or branch dieback.

What Can You Do About the Bacteria? 

The downside is that there is nothing you can do to cure the tree completely. The upside is that the prognosis is good if you support your tree. It can live for many years after infection.

Here are some tips for supporting your tree during this trying time:

  • Call in an arborist for a professional consultation. We can assist by ensuring your tree has all it needs. 
  • Resist the temptation to remove bark because it has stains on it
  • Be careful when you mow the lawn and keep damage to the tree to a minimum.
  • Make sure your tree gets enough water and nutrients, including during colder months when you should water trees in winter.
  • Aerate the soil if necessary and test it for mineral deficiencies. 
  • Mulch the area around the tree from about a foot from the trunk to the outer edge of the canopy.

Contact Us for More Help

Do you need help identifying different types of tree damage or dealing with water flowing from the tree trunk? Call the pros at Georgia Tree Company at (404) 990-0010 to schedule service. 

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