I have a pin oak tree that has a nest of ants at the base. Will the ants kill the tree?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, George: If your pin oak (Quercus palustris) is healthy and the ants are just living at the base and not crawling up into the canopy of the tree, you have nothing to worry about. If you notice the ants crawling up into the tree, it may be an indication that the tree has something else going on, such as an aphid infestation. Otherwise the only real concern would be if you were dealing with carpenter ants. These are much larger than your average ant but they typically are not ground nesters. They would be living within the wood and not at the base of your tree. Carpenter ants can do damage but it does not sound like this is what you are dealing with. Not that any gardener wants a garden full of ants, but they can actually be beneficial by creating better air circulation as well as drainage in our heavy clay soil. They do not feed on roots so you do not need to be concerned about them disturbing the root system of your oak tree.