Wondering if this tree needs to come down

Asked October 29, 2018, 2:56 PM EDT

This tree (see leaf closeup if it helps ID) has a dark "stripe" running up the trunk (looks like water but it's always there, even when dry). There is some dead branching up above (see flakey bark on branch), but many healthy-looking, populated limbs. I'm skeptical about asking a tree management company about it because they have a vested interest in recommending removal to get my business. Is this a disease? Should the whole tree be removed, or only the dead branches above? It looms over my house roof (giving me shade) so I'm trying to be proactive here. More generally: is there such a thing in the area as a tree consultant who ISN'T in the business of tree removal? I always wonder how to get unbiased advice without a conflict of interest. Thanks!

Montgomery County Maryland slime flux trees wet wood

4 Responses

That looks and sounds like slimeflux, a.k.a. wetwood.
Here is our page about it.
That may be a mulberry tree- do you ever notice small fruits on it in summer?

How much dead wood is in the canopy? How did the top leaf out in the spring?Deadwood can be trimmed out any time of year. If there is a great deal or if major limbs are involved, you are wise to consider how it's fall could affect your home and other people and property.
Take a look at this publication that helps people decide when to remove a tree:

There are tree health experts called certified arborists who are credentialed by the International Society of Arboriculture and they could consult and tell you what they think and what could be done. You could see if you could find one that would do a free consultation but they might want to 'treat' the tree and they are almost always also able to remove as well.
Additionally, mulberries are usually 'volunteer' trees that seed themselves with the help of birds. Removal may give you more light in the yard and an option to plant something else.


Thanks for the response. It's definitely never put out mulberries - I have one of those elsewhere on the property and you can't miss the peppering of the ground with the messy berries. Perhaps it's a non-bearing mulberry.

"Wetwood" sounds like an apt name for this, as it literally just looks like the bark is wet. However most of the pictures I see on the web have a dark area with the bark completely eaten/fallen away. On the trunk of my tree at least, the bark looks untouched, with identical texture to the unaffected bark surrounding (see closeup below), just darker. Perhaps that's the beginning stage of the process? The tree mostly (~70-80%?) leafed out this year. I guess I'll have the deadwood trimmed off and just keep an eye on it. Thanks for your help.