Why Is My Tree Trunk Turning Black in Virginia Beach, VA?

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Tree ownership comes with its fair share of responsibility. For example, you should regularly inspect your trees for signs of declining health.  

If you’ve ever wondered “Why is my tree trunk turning black?” you’ve landed on the right page. As the go-to contractor for reliable tree removal in Virginia Beach, the Arbor Experts crew explores several factors leading to a black tree trunk. Keep reading for further insights into tree trunk darkening.  

why is my tree trunk turning black

Causes of Tree Trunk Discoloration  

Your tree’s trunk may darken because of bacterial infections, tree diseases from fungal attacks, and insect infestation. Improper pruning may also stress your tree to a point where the trunk turns black.

Diseases that can cause your tree trunk to turn black include:  

  • Fire blight  
  • Black knot  
  • Sooty mold  
  • Verticillium wilt  
  • Bacterial caners  
  • Bacterial Diseases  
  • Gloomy scale  

Bacteria will attack trees growing in poor hygienic conditions because they grow and thrive in filthy environments. When bacteria attack a tree, they may cause the bark to turn black.  

For example, bacterial cankers target already weakened trees, causing black layers on the trunk. Another common bacterial tree disease, fire blight caused by erwinia amylorova, can turn your tree trunk black.  


When asking yourself “Why is my tree trunk turning black?” you probably never considered tree stress as a potential cause of discoloration. For example, a stressed tree may develop black patches on the bark after severe storm damage.   

Improper cutting or pruning may also damage the bark, causing it to turn black as a stress response.  

Fungal Infection  

Trees develop fungal infections mainly due to overwatering, poor soil drainage, and high humidity levels. Fungal infections like Verticillium wilt affect the tree’s xylem cells (responsible for transporting water and nutrients from the roots to the rest of the tree).   

This affects the uptake of water and nutrients, eventually turning the trunk black.  

Insect Attack  

If you notice a blackening tree trunk, your tree may have fallen victim to an insect infestation. Keep an eye out for the following common culprits:  

  • Carpenter ants  
  • Bark beetles  
  • Ambrosia beetle  

Dealing with Black Bark on Trees  

The best way to handle a tree’s bark turning black will depend on factors like the type of disease, tree species, and the extent of tree damage. Adhering to proper tree-growing practices helps to keep trees healthy and prevent health issues.   

When you notice your tree trunk turning black try the following:

  • Use insecticides 
  • Prune off infected parts 
  • Apply fungicide and bactericide 
  • Maintain a clean garden 

Inspecting your trees regularly also helps with identifying black spots on the tree trunk sooner rather than later.  

Trust Your Local Tree Care Experts  

Now that you can answer the question, “Why is my tree trunk turning black?” you need a dependable tree care expert by your side. At Arbor Experts, we are dedicated to providing exceptional tree care solutions, including:  

Call Arbor Experts at (757) 500-TREE to request a free quote for tree service in Virginia Beach, Virginia, or nearby.   


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