Originally Posted By: mpetner
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I was asked if there was any practical way to determine how badly rotted the inside of a tree was.
Here?s the situation...
It?s a full grown mature maple tree about 20 feet away from the house. House is about 55 years old. I?m assuming the tree is at least that old. Homeowner says he has to frequently sprinkle carpenter ant bait around the base of the tree to keep the ants in check. If not, the ants tend to find there way into the home and try to set up shop. Every now and then you can see the ants going up and down the trunk of the tree.
The big question is how rotted the inside of the tree is? From what I remember WDI training, carpenter ants infest rotted wood only. After a visual inspection of the tree from the ground, I saw some areas of rotted wood where the tree trimmer sawed off some limbs and the tree didn?t quite appear to heal-over the cut . There are other questionable areas, but it doesn?t look too bad.
I concluded that there was some definite rot but couldn?t determine how extensive the rot was.
I was told that you could take a long drill bit (1/2 inch or so) and drill into the trunk of the tree about chest high to determine how far the bit goes in until it meets no resistance (the rotted area). Supposedly, that wouldn?t hurt the tree. From what I heard, Maples tend to eventually get rotted from the inside out.
This drilling method sounds like it would give you a good idea of things, but does it hurt the tree? I don?t know anything about trees. What do you think? I know it?s not part of a home inspection and really is a job for an Arborist but just wondering what you guys think.