Tree in water puddle after a heavy rain


It’s not uncommon to see toppled trees in Tulsa, Oklahoma after a heavy rainfall.  While rain can be a good thing for trees, too much of it can cause trouble.  Unfortunately, no tree is safe from Mother Nature and all trees have the potential to fail from extreme weather.

Causes Of Root Rot In Trees

Trees breathe through their roots, meaning they take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide through pores in the soil. With heavy rainfall, these pores may fill with water so that trees are no longer able to breath. This situation can lead to a variety of problems, including hazardous conditions and some trees are more vulnerable to damage from heavy rainfall. Trees with compacted soil can easily topple if the ground is soaked. When the soil is compacted, air space is reduced and the roots grow closer to the surface with less grip on the earth around it. Trees with large canopies that are top heavy are also more likely to fall when the ground is saturated. Trees that grow in restricted spaces, such as between a sidewalk and a structure are also susceptible to toppling. If a tree’s roots do not have room to grow and expand, uneven weight distribution will result undermining the structure of the tree. Lastly, certain types of trees are more likely to sustain damage from extreme weather. For example, the Bradford Pear, an especially popular tree in Oklahoma, has multiple trunks and weak crotches that leave it more likely to suffer from the effects of weather.

This tree had a fungus at the base that caused it to fall into a house during a period of heavy rain.

This tree had a fungus at the base that caused it to fall into a house during a period of heavy rain.


The most telltale sign that a tree is at risk for toppling over is cracked soil. When soil is saturated in excess, roots that anchor the tree can no longer hold and the soil will actually move and form cracks. Such oversaturation increases the risk that the roots will come lose or fail during high winds which often accompany heavy rainfall as the soil has turned into a soup-like consistency. Exposed roots may also be visible. Saturated soil and high wind are a recipe for toppling trees. This situation is an absolute emergency as the structure of the tree is highly compromised and could cause serious injury or damage if it were to fall. A qualified emergency tree service like TREES BY JAKE will be able to dispatch quickly with the right equipment to remove the hazard as soon as possible

Trees do not suddenly start learning on their own. Changes in the lean of a tree may indicate the serious problem of root failure and are also at risk for falling. Drenched soil and high winds can cause a tree to lean and disturbed soil around the base of the trunk likely is in an indication of an impending fall since the roots have lost their “grip.”

Heavy rainfall can create conditions ripe for fungal diseases. After a period of heavy rainfall, it is important to keep an eye out for root rot. Root rot occurs when an excess amount of water prevents the soil from draining properly and as a result, the roots do not receive enough oxygen and die. This disease can occur due to the excess amount of rainfall itself or there may fungus already present in the soil that was “activated” by the excess amount of rain. Signs of root rot include roots that are black in color and mushy or soft to the touch. The leaves may also become wilted or brown. A tree suffering from root rot will likely need to be removed, though in some cases, adequate water drainage may help. A Certified Arborist will be able to determine the best course of action.

Cavities, discolorations, or the presence of fungus at the base are other warning signs. Because heavy rain can deprive trees of oxygen and necessary functions, trees may be become stressed. Stressed trees are more susceptible to all sorts of ailments, including fungi and pests.

a fallen huge old tree

This tree had a weakened root system due to root rot and came toppling over during a rain/wind storm.


The risk of a tree falling can never be completed eliminated.  However, regular maintenance will help reduce the risk.  Regular pruning to remove dead or declining branches and an overall canopy reduction and/or thinning can help reduce damage during extreme weather.  In some cases, mulching and/or irrigation may be beneficial to improve soil conditions and reduce the risk of root failure.  Tree cabling may also be done to help reinforce weak parts of a tree and stabilize it.  Regular inspections by a Certified Arborist are recommended to help ensure the health and structural integrity of your trees.  A Certified Arborist is trained to detect signs of decay, disease, or rot and other factors that may contribute to susceptibility to extreme weather conditions.


Don’t wait until heavy rains cause damage to your property.  Preventative maintenance is important when you live in a place like Tulsa, Oklahoma with lots of rain and other extreme weather.  Contact Jake at TREES BY JAKE for a hazard evaluation by a Certified Arborist.  If you have sustained tree damage due to weather, we offer 24/7 emergency tree services.

Call or text us at 918-500-9955 and don’t forget to check us out on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!

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Tulsa Tree Service

TREES BY JAKE has been providing tree removal services in Tulsa for over a decade. Jake is a Tulsa Certified Arborist and we have a variety of equipment to safely and efficiently remove trees. Call or text us today for your free estimate at 918-500-9955 and don’t forget to check us out on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter!

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