It looks to me that this pruning cut left too much of the branch that was cut:

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Should I cut again closer to the trunk?

Should I perhaps fill the hole in the center with something?

Is there a sign of any serious illness?

UPDATE: New photos:

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    This stub's length is a bit long but not a big deal. Do not do anything to this cut. The big worry is the angle of cut; will water run off this cut or will it sit and fester? No signs of serious disease from these blurry pics. Need a picture of the entire plant and much more information. What prompted you to send us these pictures and ask these questions? – stormy Dec 17 '17 at 8:59
  • @Stormy New photos. – VividD Dec 17 '17 at 16:11

The cut is fine but the tree has or will have issues. You can see that there is already interior decay in the heartwood of the tree. As stormy indicates water will enter the wound and decay will continue.

Do not put tar on the wound or do anything else. Research has shown further action with sealants is harmful to the tree as this answer indicates.

On the plus side you have created a new home for wildlife.

  • Oh, great... I wanted to help the tree live, and I am helping it die. Do you know by any chance which wildlife I am going to attract? – VividD Dec 17 '17 at 20:06
  • Also, why wouldn't I just nail a small piece of wood over the hole, if water flowing into the hole is so harmful? – VividD Dec 17 '17 at 21:13
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    Hi VividD! The answer about wildlife is lots of things! Whenever possible we leave our "wounds" open. To name a few, they're used by birds, insects, mammals, rodents, and bees. The smallest owl in the world, the elf owl, is a cavity dweller. See my post about them at our sister site The Great Outdoors. This article called Cavity Creatures is also very informative. If you can't cover your holes, and you like animals, consider creating a valuable habitat! – Sue Saddest Farewell TGO GL Dec 17 '17 at 21:32
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    Grins, Sue I just knew you saw this opportunity for one of your owls!! VividD. Do not touch this stub. It is just fine. Any closer and you will compromise the vascular system of the trunk. Put wood over this or grease or plastic just won't work. It will make it worse. Trees have their own methods to close this wound up. We humans do not know better. We are just trying to catch up a little bit to what the plants know so we can grow artificial gardens. The tree has already closed off the outside world from this wound. You can't see it. – stormy Dec 18 '17 at 4:20
  • @Sue I am heartened to see we all have our 'soapboxes' on this site. Leaving cavities for animals and insects...great stuff but will be tough for most to understand. I am seeing that there isn't much difference between you and me on this site. Grins! And huggs! – stormy Dec 18 '17 at 4:24

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