Maple tree cavity

Asked August 12, 2020, 8:36 AM EDT

I have a large, approximately 200 ft tall maple with a vertical oblong cavity in the main trunk about 4' off the ground. The cavity is about 5" x 12". Water is getting in the cavity and I noticed some soft wood at the bottom of the hole, I'm assuming this soft wood is rot. My question after reading several articles to not fill the hole, should I try preventing the water from entering the hole? If I should try and prevent the water, I was thinking of using silicone to adhere some sort of flashing at the top of the hole to stop the water?

Grand Traverse County Michigan

1 Response

Hello,

You are correct that you should not fill or drill holes into tree cavities. I have found references that discuss tree cavity treatments.

https://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/cavity.shtml

https://hnr.k-state.edu/extension/info-center/common-pest-problems/common-pest-problem-new/Tree%20Cavities.pdf

https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/SP683.pdf

https://plantpathology.ca.uky.edu/files/ppfs-or-w-01.pdf

A greater concern is to be sure the tree is not at risk of failure or falling. The interior cavity could be much more extensive than the outside, visible opening.

Tree health and risk assessment is done by certified arborists and in particular by arborists who specialize in tree risk assessment. I would recommended that you hire a certified arborist and have the tree assessed. He/she can advise you on whether to fill or shield the opening. These tree care professionals have been trained and passed certification testing in all aspects of tree care. Find a certified arborist in your ZIP Code area by searching here- www.treesaregood.org