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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:10 am 
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Location: San Jose,CALIFORNIA
Our cedar tree was hit by a car some years ago apparently. We did not pay attention unfortunately. Termites decided to make a home under the damaged bark which has spread.

A couple of people thought I should have the tree removed, which I thought I would have to do. But honestly I want to save the tree if possible.

This winter we applied a termite foam on the damaged area in desperation after simply removing the old dead bark by hand. Unfortunately we all got ill with the flu and let the tree sit without further repairs.

Finally a couple of weeks ago I had a friend who thought he could save the tree by chipping off the areas imbedded with termites. Fortunately the termites did not go deep, or at least so it seems. But it still is a significant area, roughly 1/3rd of the way around the large tree.

I sprayed with ozone water a few times while trying to figure this all out, and then sprayed it with orange oil. I chipped off a bit more since I saw there was a little more termite damage than what had previously been removed.

I plan to put tree goop on it tomorrow but wonder if it will be enough.

I also am thinking about cutting off a sucker tree that has grown in the side of the cedar. But wonder if maybe I should wait on that til cooler weather in the fall?? I don't want to stress the tree unduly.

The tree is near a cottage built with redwood with a good cement foundation. Fortunately the driveway is gravel, although there is also some blacktop nearby. There have been potted plants in front of the cottage. We removed quite a few.

I plan on aerating the soil more and see what I can do using the sick tree methods outlined here.

There are some deep fissures at the base under where the rotted area was that I am thinking of dropping boric acid and/or diatomaceous earth into the fissures. The earth there is compacted and hard. It has lots of rocks due to being part of a driveway, which of course was the original problem since it was obviously hit by a car some time ago.

After perusing the Internet I have been tempted to use Dominion 2L that uses a type of nicotine (niclosamide) to kill termites etc. I have also seen both good and bad about Fipronil for termites concerning trees. If it could work without harming the tree it would be great, but of that I am really uncertain since I have read it can kill plants. Certainly its an elegant solution for a house as long as it does not have trees around it or a garden nearby! Of the two the niclosamide is probably environmentally safer, but I could well be wrong.

I'd rather go completely organic if I can since the above modern termiticides are hard on things like bees and cats for instance, both creatures I love--and which populate our private cul-de-sac.

But if I lose this huge tree it will cost uber much to our landscape as well as pocket book, especially since there are electrical lines going high up in the tree, which were put in long ago before I ever entered the scene. Ideally they should be moved, but I really don't know how we'd do it financially this year.

So far there is only one dead branch way up above.

Am thinking of consulting an arborist, but right now tomorrow I plan on putting on the tree goop since I better do something about this pronto.

One thing this tree has in its advantage is that it is a real cedar tree. Plus its old and seemingly otherwise vigorous. I doubt it was ever root bound.

All in all I hope I/we didn't kill the tree in our efforts to save it.

Any advice would be much appreciated. Call me stupid if you wish.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:26 am 
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Location: Fort Worth,TEXAS
Welcome to the dirt doctor forums! What a lot to consider.

Let me ask a few questions first. Do you have a digital camera and will you post photos both from a distance and close up of the tree, the area, and the termite damage?

When you say the tree is a real cedar, do you mean it is a western red cedar? Thuja plicata? I am from the Pacific Northwest where those are native, and they prefer a lot more moisture than one typically finds in your area.

What is the diameter (chest high) of your tree? How far is it from the house? And do you know what variety of termites you have? The type and habit makes a difference. I believe that some of the termite species in California don't stay in the soil like those in Texas do.

Photos will give us a good start in this - if you can reduce the file size the will upload here, or post them to someplace like flickr and provide links.

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Last edited by northwesterner on Sun Mar 23, 2014 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Termite damaged tree
PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 4:21 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 1:45 am
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Location: San Jose,CALIFORNIA
Thank you Northwestener for replying so quickly. I went over there today and took some pictures. I am now uncertain what type of tree it is. Fir or cedar or pine?? I will need to get someone to help me with that.

I was wrong about the leaves and cones. I was thinking of another tree next to it.

The color of the wood under the bark is red.

The tree is trying to exude a protective sap where it can already. I had to chip some of it away to remove all the termite eggs (or whatever??). The were black. One patch of white.

I saw one small live grub in a hole I dug out that was deeper than the rest. I put some diatomaceous earth with bentonite and compost in the hole after killing the grub. I need to get the soft rock phosphate instead of the bentonite.

I worry about the state of some of the bark on one side, but am anxious I might destroy the tree if I take more of it off. Thus the consideration of using one of those new systemic products.

But maybe boric acid and/or orange oil would do just as well?? I also have some eucalyptus oil that could possibly be of some use.

I had thought the tree was going to be OK previously. But I was wrong to do so given the fact the damage made from the car was worse than what I thought. It was probably done years ago before I arrived here. In any case I should have been paying more close attention. All I can do is beg ignorance in these matters. And honestly on a certain level others in my family should have noted it but instead I have been left to deal with the situation.

As it is I was even wrong on the type of tree it is. It has larger and entirely cones and leaves than I thought. They seem to be more like a normal fir tree. The cones don't drop however which is what fooled me. Plus they are way up high.

Definitely the sucker tree that attached itself to the big tree's side has to go.

Any comments you might make could be helpful. I am obviously more ignorant than I should be about all this.

I finally have time to address the situation after falling ill this winter and then having to deal with a couple of rentals.

I had a friend who grew up on a farm that had trees help me finally but its really out of his league too.

I am thinking of asking an arborist to come over to give his or her opinion. Am in the process of tracking a couple down. I don't want one that would just want to cut it down.

Hopefully then I will find out the actual type of tree it is--and maybe someone who can help.

I do think the tree is salvageable one way or another even if it isn't a cedar.

I still plan on putting tree goop and possibly boric acid and DE but think its likely I will have to do a bit more than that for areas that likely still have some termites. I really am swaying towards using a systemic like Dominion 2L--but maybe it won't be necessary after we goop the tree and get rid of the sucker and surrounding plants etc.

The circumference of the tree at my shoulder height was 92 inches. A foot and a half off the ground it was 102 inches around. We figure the tree is at least 40 feet tall.
I tried to add more pictures but the system won't let me. Am thinking I will try it again in another post.

Again, thank you ahead of time for any input you might make!


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File comment: The white patches are where I put my modified goop with diatomaceous earth onto the tree
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:25 pm 
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Try another photo - that photo came out tiny. The system pushed this question off of my radar so I had to come back looking for it. You could also host the photos someplace like Flickr and post links.

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