tree health

Asked July 13, 2019, 3:44 PM EDT

We have a very large maple tree in our front yard; it looks full and healthy with green leaves, but the base of the tree looks odd. The bark has peeled off on some of the roots on the ground; there are small ant colonies residing there. Part of some smaller roots are breaking away from the ground. I have a video of all except the root that I was able to pull up after I stepped on it and the ground there felt "mushy" or soft (not wet) right next to the tree base. Can you give me information about what might be going on with this tree or what can be done to help it?

Grand Traverse County Michigan maple trees

1 Response

I agree, there seems to be a problem. Although the ants aren't really a concern, they could be cleaning out some water damage or just happen to be there. The seemingly dead roots are more of a concern. They appear to have been damaged at some point (lawnmower blight?). I agree, there seems to be a problem. Although the ants aren't really a concern, they could be cleaning out some water damage or just happen to be there. The seemingly dead roots are more of a concern. They appear to have been damaged at some point (lawnmower blight?). These roots may have put out new growth near the point of damage; however, this could allow entry of pathogens. The baffling part is that the tree seems to be thriving. The spongy feeling near the base may be an indication that the root structure may not be sound. The concern here is that the tree may come down. If you can feel this soil move under your feet on a windy day, the tree may be unsafe.
I hope this helps,