Heartwood Decay By: Mackenzie Shoemaker
Description: • Also known as “Heart Rot.” • Single most important and prominent tree disease for merchantable, hardwood timber. • Caused by a fungus that deteriorates the living inner wood (heartwood) of a tree.
Life Cycle: • Once the decay has started, it is a naturally occurring tree process. • Will continue to grow and spread for many years. • The decay may not kill the tree, but will destroy its possibility to be used for timber products. • Depending on how severe the decay gets, the tree may be deemed “unsafe.” • As long as a tree is growing vigorously, decay will be confined to a small central core.
Affected Trees: • Douglas Fir • Sitka Spruce • Western Red Cedar • Western Hemlock Douglas Fir Western Hemlock Sitka Spruce
Prevention: • Avoid pruning wounds which expose large areas of wood. • Shape trees when they are young, so major branch removal won’t be necessary. • Remove broken branch stubs following any storm damage. • Keep fire and vehicles out of the woodlands. • Check trees every few years to be sure there is new growth. Western Red Cedar
Works Cited • Allen, E.A., D.J. Morrison, and G.W. Wails. “Stem Decays.” DecAID <www.fs.fed.us> 1996. Web. 19 November 2012. • “Heartwood decay.” Heartwood decay. N.p. n.d. 19 November 2012. <www.extension.vmn.edu> • “Heart Rots.” Forest Health Protection, Southern Region. Forest Health Protection. 2012. 19 November 2012. <www.fs.fed.us>