A: I think the rot started at the top of the wound where the limb was trimmed off and a stub was left. The tree was never able to grow over the stub. Rainwater got in and rot grew into the center of the tree. From there, it moved downward in the trunk. It broke through the bark, and the tree couldn’t cover it to protect the center of the tree from even more water intrusion. All this led to the rot you have now, not termites or ants. The damage to the trunk is likely so severe that the tree may fall someday. My advice is to enjoy the spring flowers until your tree falls or loses so many leaves that it is too ugly to keep. You can then remove it completely and replace it with a tree of your choice.
Q: My hollies have gotten too tall. I want to cut them 2 feet lower so I can paint the house. The landscape company I contacted said it might harm them if I didn’t wait till spring. What is your opinion? Mark Ussery, email