termites infesting damaged Morus alba

Asked April 10, 2013, 2:23 PM EDT

There are a number of mature Morus alba on my property that have been neglected for many years. Some show signs of sun-scald; some of these are infested with termites, yet are still growing, though not as vigorously as some of the others.
1. What can be done to stop the termite infestation besides calling an exterminator?
2. The sapwood is still swelling and growing each year at the edges of the exposed heartwood at the sun-scald areas. Are the trees in danger of losing structural strength?
3. Termites eat dead wood. Heartwood is dead, yes? How to stop the termites myself?
4. How important is it to positively identify the particular type of termite?
5. I am concerned that the termites will infest the mobile home on my property located near the infested tree.

Thank you!

Solano County California

1 Response

The termites likely are not causing damage to the live areas of the tree's wood, but are most likely eating heartwood. That's not a huge loss, but would be worth stopping. Using an exterminator would be the best bet because they have access to longer lasting chemicals that you don't. They likely would focus on treating the soil around the base. If they didn't I would want to know why. They should be trying to form a barrier to termite movement from the soil (where they live) into the tree. The swelling you see in the scalded area is just new wood forming (callus or woundwood). It is good. So treat for the termites and watch for cracks in the trunk for a sign of weakness.