Tree trunk rot - Knowledgebase Question

Cleveland, OH
Avatar for sagi
Question by sagi
June 27, 1998
Thank you for your help with a question we previously had regarding a siberian pea tree. We now have another tree question. We have two maple trees, one is an unknown variety, about 25' tall with a 4" trunk. The other is a red maple, about 10 years old, 7' tall with a 2" trunk. They are placed about 30' apart. Both have trunks that are rotting out near the base. Other than that, the trees both appear healthy. There are "potato-type bugs" in the area of the rotting, and the bark is peeling off in the rotting area also. What could be causing this and what can we do to remedy it? thank you very much in advance for your assistance.

Answer from NGA
June 27, 1998
What type of soil moisture does this area have? The potato type bugs (Roly-Poly's, Pill Bugs, Sow Bugs, etc.) like to hang out in damp spots where decomposition is taking place. It sounds like there is too much standing water where these trees are located and they are starting to rot. It doesn't sound like they have been thriving for awhile, 25' with a 4" trunk or 7' with a 2" trunk is not good development. My first guess would be excessive moisture, this often calls a failure to thrive in trees resulting in stunted growth and eventually, rot. The remedy of course is to change the amount of water in the soil which of course is often most difficult. If I am off base with the soil moisture, please post another question via the website and let me know, we will investigate other cause of your trees' demise.

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