My eucalypt tree is oozing sap. Is this a problem?

Occasionally a healthy tree will produce sap to fight a pathogen infection, however sap oozing from a tree usually indicates the tree is suffering severe stress.

The main stem of a eucalypt tree can exude Kino (a sticky sap) in response to serious stress, making it more susceptible to pathogen infection.

An arborist is needed to determine the reason for Kino production, any underlying cause of stress to the tree and advise you of the best course of action to take.

The leaves and flowers on my tree are being eaten
at a rapid rate. Could it be possums, what can I do?

Possums love to graze on the leaves, flowers and fruit of many trees. Firstly, look for possum droppings on the ground surrounding the troubled tree. Next, inspect the remains of an already eaten leaf. If the leaf margins have been eaten, but the petioles left intact, then it would appear that you could have a problem with a possum overgrazing.

A possum band can be installed to restrict possum access to a tree and prevent overgrazing. A band is installed around the trunk of a tree or its primary branches to stop the possum from climbing the tree.

These bands will restrict possum access to the tree provided that the possums can’t access the tree through alternative routes (such as buildings or other trees in close proximity). Possums can jump as far as 2.5 metres horizontally or downwards, but have never been known to jump more than 1 metre vertically upwards.

An arborist will advise on inspection of the site the type of predator your tree is under attack from and whether a Possum band would be an effective solution.

I think my “living” tree has termites feeding on it.
Is this possible?

While termites do tend to prefer dead wood and don’t normally eat the wood from a live tree, they will sometimes feed on the dead cellulose found in a living tree. This is a sure sign that your tree is already suffering a health problem, indicating that it may in fact be diseased.

Termites methodically mine and digest wood within compartments, leaving pillars, boundaries and supports
in trail. This pattern of feeding is known as Compartmentalization Of Decay In Trees (C.O.D.I.T) and is the reason the tree still remains standing after initial infestation.

An arborist will need to inspect the tree to determine if there is a termite infestation. They will diagnose the underlying cause of the problem and suggest an appropriate treatment.

My tree has big tunnel-like holes in it.
Could it be under attack from borers?

Evidence of holes, tunnels and galleries in living trees can indicate the presence of borers. When the initial attack occurs a tree will produce Kino to engulf the borers. If an already-unhealthy tree can’t produce enough Kino to fight the attack, then the borers will begin eating the tree beneath the bark. Borers will only infest a tree already suffering stress or health problems.

A qualified arborist can inspect the tree and determine whether it is suffering from borer infestation. They will diagnose the underlying health problem allowing this infestation to occur and provide advice for appropriate treatment.

My tree’s trunk looks like it’s tearing apart.
Is this possible?

A co-dominant stem occurs when a tree begins tearing apart at the unions. This structural defect shears wood fibres, resulting in tree failure at the union. This creates an open wound for decay organisms to enter and presents a potential hazard.

An arborist will determine whether your tree’s co-dominant stem is a serious problem and will classify the stage of risk to aid in its management.

There are mushroom-like fungi growths on my tree.
Does this mean my tree is unhealthy?

Bracket-shaped fruiting bodies (fungi) will often be produced on the trunk or main branches of a tree with a structural defect, such as a canker wound. The presence of fungi can indicate that a tree will eventually be a potential hazard.

Fungi lives on dead plant matter, causing decay and rot in the heartwood of trees. It results in the rapid breakdown of lignin (the organic substance which binds cells), while cellulose (an organic substance assisting rigidity in plant cell walls) degrades at a much slower rate. The remaining fungi material retains considerable tensile strength, despite losing much of its rigidity. The presence of fungi usually leads to weakening and eventual breakage of limbs or the fall of an affected tree.

An arborist will identify the type of fungi in your tree (mycorrihizal, saprophytic or pathogenic fungi) and whether its presence is a sign of potential hazard.

A branch has broken off my tree. Will the tree be okay?

One of the main reasons a limb will fall from a tree is the result of a structural defect. A poor branch attachment can lead to included bark. Bark forms on the outside of a tree, providing a strong outer layer that protects the tree. When included bark is present, and the tree has grown around the bark, the result is a build up in dirt and moisture, weakening the tissues and leaving a void. Kino (sap) attempts to fill the void, resulting in a loss of structural strength and eventually the tree fails in the affected area and the limb breaks and falls.

An open wound remains where the limb has broken away from the tree. This open wound leaves the inside wood exposed and can lead to an otherwise healthy tree being left susceptible to pathogen infection. If the remaining exposed area displays any signs of infection or attack, then an arborist should be consulted.

Several branches on my tree look dead.
Is this a sign that the tree is dying?

A healthy tree will display a reasonably dense canopy of green foliage on the majority of the crown’s smaller branches.

Sparse foliage is a sign that a tree is suffering stress and declining in health, providing, of course, that it is not deciduous.

If the smaller branches look bare and dying this can indicate that the branches have sprouted and then promptly died. This occurs repeatedly as the tree struggles to balance its canopy with its remaining functioning roots.

And if a tree displays only bare branches with sparse foliage it’s unfortunately nearing the end of its life.

An arborist will identify if your tree is undergoing the later stages of decline. They will also determine any potential hazard and necessity for tree removal.