Backyard tree has hole in base that's filled with mud. Should I be worried?
September 18, 2011 3:03 PM   Subscribe

In my back yard there's a tree with a hole at its base. This hole leads up into the tree, and appears to be filled with freshly-tilled mud. Something to be concerned about? (Pic inside)


It's a big, old, healthy tree as far as I can tell. I know there are lots of critters that make their homes inside holes in trees, but I want to make sure this isn't something that's actively weakening the tree. (This is in the Pacific Northwest, if it's relevant.)
posted by Robson to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
Oh: The white bug-like thing is the shed exoskeleton of a nearby pillbug. I only saw one of those in the area, FWIW. And disturbing the mud just got me more mud.
posted by Robson at 3:09 PM on September 18, 2011

The critters are decomposing the interior of the tree and weakening it. I have trees like this.
posted by lathrop at 3:43 PM on September 18, 2011

It should be okay until you start to see die-off in the branches. Then it's time to bring that baby down. You could remove the mud and put some kind of wire mesh over the opening to keep the critters out but that would not necessarily stop the critters.
posted by eleslie at 4:32 PM on September 18, 2011

Probably termites. Termites fill the hollowed out areas of wood with mud. It's possible at some time in the past someone treated the tree for termites and they're not there now. Regardless, I would have a certified arborist come out and look at the tree. Hollow trees can live a long time, but they come down easily in storms.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:50 PM on September 18, 2011

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