I have a 13-year old River Birch in my front yard. It originally had four trunks. Due to one trunk touching my roof and causing the need to trim often, I had that trunk cut down a couple of years ago. The person who cut it for me painted the wound with something black to seal it. I have noticed recently that that cut area (about 10" in diameter) has rotted. It appears to be filled with dirt. I am afraid of losing the remaining three trunks of the tree, which are beautiful, if this opening continues to trap water every time it rains. What do you recommend to protect my River Birch? I assume I should scoop out the loose material and fill it with something to seal it.

Unfortunately, filling the cavity is not recommended and will provide no benefit. Depending on the extent of decay present, it may be possible to cable the remaining leaders together to add supplemental support to help compensate for the presence of decay. It is highly recommended you have an arborist evaluate the overall health and safety of the tree and provide you with options for course of action.

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