Rotten section of tree with white worms

Asked June 10, 2017, 4:05 PM EDT

I have a large tree, maybe 60 feet tall, that has a section at the base that is soft and filled with a foul smelling substance and small white worms that look similar to maggots. The worms are maybe 1/2" long or shorter and there is a gooey substance running from the base of the tree. I have attached photos for your reference. I would like to know what this is and how to best manage it. This tree is close to my house

Oldham County Kentucky tree health oldham county kentucky horticulture

1 Response

Your tree has a basal canker. The fungus develops in open wounds infecting the surrounding bark and sapwood. The oozing sap has created an environment where the eggs were laid and developed into the white larva you see. They are not the cause. There is also the possibility of wood rot developing in the hard wood of the tree. There are no chemical treatments to control the canker or wood rots.
You can keep the keep the area clean and fertilize the tree in the late fall (October November) and reduce any stress with additional irrigation during summer dry periods.
For additional information contact you local Cooperative Extension Service office in Oldham County.