something boring into scarlet oak

Asked June 28, 2019, 12:11 PM EDT

I've bought two scarlet oaks within the past year from a nursery in Laytonsville, MD. The one I bought last year developed a bore hole at the bottom and died. The replacement, planted in late March/early April, appeared to be in good shape, but a bore hole has formed in it recently, about two inches up the base (in almost the same location as the former tree). I thought I gave the new tree an inspection when it was planted and didn't see a hole, but one has appeared within the last two months. A bamboo skewer inserted into the hole can go into it an inch. This tree is roughly 15 feet tall with a 3 inch caliper. What might be attacking the scarlet oak? Is there anything that can be done to keep the tree from dying? This was under warranty, but I don't want to have to keep replacing trees.

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1 Response

We cannot say for sure what caused the hole. If the tree was planted just this spring, it is possible that there was already some type of injury there -- we really can't say for sure. The tree is also planted too deeply. It should be set higher in the planting hole so that you see the roots flaring out at the bottom. A tree that is planted too deeply will decline over time.

My recommendation would be to take advantage of the warranty and have it replaced -- especially if the nursery planted it. It does not look like it was planted correctly.