The Q&A Archives: Mulberry tree diseases

Question: I have a weeping mulberry tree that is about 10yrs old. Over the last few years I have noticed that some of the limbs are dying and you can just snap them off. This has gotten worse and I have a huge area where there aren't any limbs draping down to the ground. I have heard that there is a disease where a worm is in the limbs and eats out the middle of the limb causing it to die. When you snap off a limb there is a hole in it where something has burrowed thru it. Is this what my tree has and what can I do to get rid of it? Please respond ASAP as I can't find anyone to help me.
Cherie Bricker

Answer: Mulberry trees can sometimes be attacked by boring insects (you'll find holes in the bark of the trunk and the limbs). Boring insect larvae feed just beneath the bark and if you peel away dead sections of bark you'll see the surface tunnels they make. Larvae do not feed in the middle of the limbs. I think that your tree has developed heart rot. Several fungal diseases, sometimes called heart or sap rots, cause the wood in the center of trunks and limbs to decay. Under conditions favoring growth of certain rot fungi, extensive portions of the wood of living trees can decay in a relatively short time (months to years). You can prune your mulberry to remove the dead portions of the tree (disinfect your pruning equipment between cuts so you don't spread the disease). Prune the limbs back to healthy wood. Hope you're able to save your tree!

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