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What to do with a rotting tree


by Adam Pasco

A friend recently showed me a photograph of his rotting plum tree, with woodlice crawling around the affected area. Were the woodlice a pest, and how should he get rid of them?


Plum tree with areas of rotting woodA friend recently showed me a photograph (left) of his rotting plum tree, with woodlice crawling around the affected area. Were the woodlice a pest, and how should he get rid of them? 

This reminded me of a plum tree in my own family garden when I was a child. Like this plum, the trunk had a great rotting hole in it, with soft wood crumbling at its heart, but branches carried healthy leaves and fabulous fruits. 

Woodlice can often be found among rotting leaf litter and in dark, dank parts of the garden under piles of sticks and vegetation. They are unlikely to do any damage to healthy plants, but have clearly made a home in the soft centre of this plum tree. 

It's often said that plants flower well under some stress, and despite the obvious signs of damage to this tree trunk it is not adversely affecting fruit production. However, this will be weakening the tree, and branches may benefit from support to prevent them breaking or pulling down the whole tree. 

My friend decided to clean out the soft and rotten wood at the heart of this plum and fill the hole with concrete. Perhaps the tree won't last for many more years, but I think his DIY trunk repairs may well have helped reduce further rotting, and keep him in plums for the near future. 

Quite where his woodlice have gone to I don't know!



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Gardeners' World Web User 10/09/2009 at 13:19

Reply to greenman: I'm doubtful that this is the reason, but certainly can't for certain. Blight is an airborne disease caused by a fungus, and spread by its spores. It may just be that the first plant to get infected was furthest from the aloe, possibly closer to an open door or vent, and the disease has spread through teh greenhouse from here. I'm not aware of any fungicidal properties of aloe, unless anyone else is?

Gardeners' World Web User 10/09/2009 at 20:56

Lets all put an aloe with our tomatoes it might be a companion plant protecting it from the evil forces of the air born fugi!!! worth a try don't you think? said with tongue in cheek. smile!

Gardeners' World Web User 11/09/2009 at 15:07

Talking of Fungi....... I have something growning on my lawn that looks like yellow scrambled eggs. Does anyone know what this is or how to treat it.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/09/2009 at 22:52

I GROW AND DISTRIBUTE LOADS OF ALOE VERA FOR FRIENDS WHO,LIKE ME USE THE SAP FROM THE LEAVES TO TREAT ANY WOUNDS,BITES OR BURNS. WEARE ALL AWARE OF IT'S ANTIBACTERIAL & SOOTHING PROPERTIES SO THERE JUST MAY BE SOME GOOD REASONS AS TO WHY GREENMAN'S BLIGHT ON HIS TOMATOES WAS CONTROLLED. WILL GIVE IT A TRY NEXT YEAR. WHAT IS THERE TO LOSE?

Gardeners' World Web User 12/09/2009 at 14:12

how toxic is an oleander plant ?? i have a 2 yr old grandson

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