Why Would a Tree Be Full of Water?

Tree rot full of water

Have you ever wondered why trees contain so much water? It might seem surprising, but the water inside a tree is crucial for its survival and functionality. Sometimes, you might even see water coming out of a tree. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating reasons behind the water content in trees, tree physiology, environmental factors, and their role in the ecosystem.

Why Would a Tree Be Full of Water?

Water Dripping from Tree: How it Works

Using capillary action, water travels up the bark via the inner xylem and into the leaves. The tree is fed by the nutrients as they are photosynthesized by the leaves. Trees supply water to the leaves to offset a decrease in water pressure or hydrostatic pressure as the water is trying to reach the upper leaf-bearing canopies.

During photosynthesis, light energy from the sun is converted into chemical energy. The tree will store this energy to fuel growth and organism activity as the tree releases it. Approximately 90 percent of the water is released by the leaves during stomata. An opening or pore on a leaf, usually on the underside, is called a stoma. The stoma acts as a gas exchange for the tree. Therefore, the stoma allows for air, which contains carbon dioxide, to enter as well. The tree will then use the air in the photosynthesis process to produce oxygen. While part of the oxygen helps with tree respiration, the other part is released into the atmosphere through evaporation. This positive loss of water by trees is known as transpiration.

Tree Water Management

On a dry, hot day, several hundred gallons of water can be lost by a fully grown tree through its leaves. Conversely, a tree will lose hardly any water on a wet, cold day. Water loss is determined by temperature, humidity, and evaporation. While 90 percent of the water is released by the leaves, the remaining 10 percent is retained by the tree to keep it healthy and growing. A tree’s water management efficiency varies from species to species, as well as the environment where it is planted.

Tree Water Consumption

A mature tree can go through 10,000 gallons of which only 1,000 gallons are used to produce food and to add biomass. Therefore, a mature tree would have a transpiration ratio of 1:10. The ratio shows how much water transpired or was converted into dry matter. Depending on the species, it could take between 24 (200 pounds) to 120 gallons of water to produce a pound of dry matter.

Tree Leaking Water

Thick, sticky sap coming out of a tree is quite normal. A tree leaking water, however, isn’t normal. Water coming out of the tree trunk could mean wetwood. Wetwood is a bacterial disease and it seeps out prodigiously in what looks like water initially, before it turns yellow or brown, produces gas, and starts to smell. Wetwood gets into the tree through broken or missing bark or wounds. To compound the problem, fungi and insects will feed off the excrement, thereby making the odor stronger. Wetwood can’t be cured, however, it can be managed with proper tree care.

Proper Tree Care

Trees need plenty of water. Water needs to soak down to root level and that can take a while. Sprinklers will water the top of the ground causing run-offs. Avoid placing mulch right up against the trunk and don’t compact the soil around the base. Don’t peel off the bark or rip at bits of bark. Check periodically for water leaks and insect infestations. Saplings and newly planted trees should be wrapped at the start of winter. Avoid bumping the tree with mowers, tailgates, and any other equipment.

Omaha Tree Services

At Omaha Tree, our mission is to provide tree care services & mulch products that improve the HEALTH, BEAUTY, & SAFETY of our customers’ trees. We recycle all of our wood waste material from the trees we trim and remove in the greater Omaha metro area. The wood waste material is brought back to our 8-acre site at 3606 McKinley Street, where it is processed into a beautiful & consistent mulch product that is local, fresh, and clean. Contact a certified arborist today.