I recently cut down a tree in my back yard, and after looking at the stump I noticed a column of dirt in the middle. This didn't look or feel like rotted wood, but actually kind of muddy. In the picture, you can see the hole, and also some of the 'dirt' that I scraped out and wiped on the stump next to the hole. It seemed to go quite deep. Is this termites? I recently bought the house, and there are termite traps located in the yard around the house.

Stump with hole

  • Not answering because this is just an idea. But carpenter ants and some others leave similar legacies on some of my trees (Lancaster PA area) (picture)
    – J. Musser
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 18:24
  • It is quite common for the heartwood of senescent trees to rot out leaving a cavity such as this. I cannot be certain if insects are not to blame though. Why did you cut the tree down? Did it look diseased before you cut it? Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 19:13
  • @J.Musser Interesting, but this hole had mud in it, rather than woody debris.
    – Sean
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 18:11
  • @Georgeofalltrades Only saw it in the winter months, but can't say it looked diseased. I cut this and a couple other small trees down in the backyard because there are already a handful of mature trees with nowhere for the smaller ones to really grow.
    – Sean
    Commented Apr 14, 2017 at 18:12

1 Answer 1


We had the same type of rot in various Birch trees, however there weren't any termites or other insects. It appeared to have been caused by some sort of fungus that caused it to rot from the inside out, producing a similar strange brown/black rotted wood mass.

I wouldn't take any chances though, especially as you mention that there were already termite traps set up.

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