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Tree appears to be rotting

Question: I have a oak tree that has been rotting into the trunk where three major
limbs meet in the middle. It had a lot of leaves and ants. I removed
all of those and it goes down into tree about four inches.



Photos would help and I would be glad to provide more help after looking at photos. But based upon what you tell us, it appears the tree has codominant leaders with three leaders forming from a single location. This is a weak structural trait that is prone to failure and sometimes decay. The type of oak is also important. In this part of Florida the species would likely be either live oak, laurel oak, water oak. Live oaks are strong, long-lived (hundreds of years), decay resistant and very wind resistant. Laurel and water oaks are relatively short-lived (50 to 60 years), weak wooded and with poor decay and wind resistance. The observation that ants are found in the rotting area probably means these are carpenter ants which live primarily living in decaying wood. This could confirm the existence of decay. Your three observations are points of concern and indicate the tree should be evaluated by a consulting arborist (See the ASCA find a consulting arborist web page) who is not necessarily the same person who will remove the tree. You want an independent opinion not one tainted by someone who can make more moving with a removal. Good luck and send photos if you can.