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Trunk discoloration

I have a 50 year old Cottonwood tree in my yard. Last summer I noticed a brownish strip in the trunk, as if dirty water has been poured down the side. It doesn't smell and isn't peeling, it's an eye sore. There was a tree stand that was nailed into the tree where the branches extend from the trunk. Some of the roots are protruding from the ground. The tree has new growth every year. I would like to know if there is any way to get rid of or heal the trunk. Thank you for your help with my
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

It sounds as though you are aware of a potential problem called bacterial wetwood. In the case of that disease, however, you would normally notice an unpleasant odor coming from the seepage. Evidently your cottonwood just has a wound that is not sealing itself off properly. Exposure of such wounds to sun and wind are the best thing to get them to seal themselves. Is there any loose bark around the wound? If so, trim it back to where it is firmly attached to the tree. Then let nature do it's work in compartmentalizing the wound.

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