On the trunks is a dark gray, foul-smelling, fluffy or powdery,
slightly damp substance that eventually ends up on the ground in a
ring around the base of the tree.
Same thing happened last October, but not in prior years. Elms
planted about 25 years ago. Researched a dozen "tree" books; found
nothing. What is this substance? Thank You.
Do a google search to find your state's cooperative extension service, and
call them. Most offer free gardening advice, and are likely to have
information about plant diseases that are specific to your area. Much better
than guesses from all over the country.
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