The homeowner called Hildebrandt Tree Tech to remove a honey locust tree from his front yard. He was sad to see the tree go but it had become unstable and dangerous as it was planted very close to his house. The remaining stump told the story. Root rot. While the tree looked fairly healthy on the outside, the foundational root system had become very unhealthy.
Root rot has two basic sources. Fungus, like ganoderma or armillaria attack trees that are otherwise stressed by drought conditions or pest infestations, yet will attack healthy trees as well. Ganoderma attacks the sapwood, which is the outer structure and strength of the tree. Armillaria is a white, rotting fungus that attaches itself to the root system of trees and can spread through the soil to uninfected roots of other trees. If you see mushrooms growing under the canopy of your tree, it may be a sign a fungus is present.
A more common cause of root rot is over watering. Think of it this way; when we go swimming we get wet for a while then we get out and dry off. If we never got out of the swimming pool, our skin couldn’t be healthy because it would never have a chance to dry. In the same way, healthy root systems need a routine of “drying out” after being watered. Roots that are constantly wet become soft and mushy. They begin to rot, leaving the tree susceptible to pests, disease and vulnerable to being blown over by strong winds.
We need water. It’s essential to life. We appreciate water most after a dry season.
Last year God delivered Texas from a 5-year drought. He did it in a big way. Over 35 trillion gallons of rain fell in the month of May alone. That’s enough to cover the entire state of Texas with 8″ of water. The dry brown gave way to lush green. It caused all of us to reflect on the dry season and how happy we were it was over.
I’ve had more than a few dry seasons in my life. Seasons of pain and difficulty. Years of starting life over from scratch, wondering how God would ever make sense of the chaos. Long periods of being on the outside looking in, wishing my life was anything but what it was. Many Sundays going to church, smiling on the outside and dying on the inside. The Bible says God saves all our tears. He must have some 55-gallon drums with my name on them.
I don’t like admitting it. The dry seasons have made me stronger.
In dry seasons trees send their roots deeper in search of water. Dry seasons have a way of sending us deeper into God. In both cases, it’s a desperate search for life; a quest for that which will sustain us.
We don’t like dry seasons. When we go on vacation, we like our sand by the water. We go to Dana Point, not Death Valley. Yet there’s a reason you’ll sooner see a documentary about someone surviving Death Valley. God uses the dry seasons to develop our dependence on Him. We learn persistence, perseverance, patience. It’s a painful process. I went kicking and screaming the whole way. But by God’s grace, I made the trip.
When the rain finally comes and our brown turns to green, we realize we are stronger. Deeper roots, more stability. Better able to withstand the next dry season (yes, there will be more). More important, the process of drying out makes us more ready to soak up the truth God has for us.
Are you in the middle of a dry season? Don’t quit. Go deep. The water of life you’re desperate for is there in God.
He’s all about growing you stronger.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers. – Psalm 1:3
Todd A. Thompson – toddthompson.net