base of trunk on hickory rotting (and appears to be increasing) #817110

Asked December 01, 2022, 11:02 AM EST

Per my title - this is about a 50 foot hickory tree in my front yard (adjacent to my septic field) in western howard county (woodbine). The base of the truck appears to have an increasing amount of bark sloughing off the tree - been happening for about 2-3 years now since I noticed it. The tree bloomed last summer but there were a few upper brnaches that appeared to have no leaves. Possible cause(s)? diseases? Also, the tree is adjacent to a shared driveway? and although not leaning toward my house could possibly hit it or damage my neighbor's garden driveway. I am considering having it dropped - thought s on this? Appreciate your thoughts.

Howard County Maryland

Expert Response

The bark missing from your big hickory is of concern. Bark is needed to move water and nutrients up into the leafy canopy, which is probably why you have some big limbs dying back.

It does appear that there is little to no callous tissue evident, which trees use to try and cover and compartmentalize wounds. 
It looks like there is open, rot-prone wood within, which could make the tree structurally weak in windy storms.
From your photos and from a distance we can't tell you much more than that.

However, this page helps homeowners to decide when it may be time to remove a tree:
Your best bet would be to consider having a tree health expert, a.k.a. an ISA-certified arborist come and do an on-site evaluation of it. Most larger tree companies have certified arborists on staff, or you can search for one at the credentialing agency here:


Christine McComas Replied December 01, 2022, 1:22 PM EST

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