Storms Split Apart a Large Red Oak!
September 13, 2016
Storm season can cause major damage to our trees when they are weakened from drought, pests or diseases. Even if a tree may appear to be in decent health, decay could be lurking within or under the soil. High winds and heavy rain can quickly expose structural problems with your tree, but it may only be after it falls on your house.
This large, multi-trunked Red Oak (featured in the photo above) had a large amount of wood rotting fungi in the center of the tree, where three co-dominant trunks connected. As the three trunks expanded over time, they starting pushing each other apart. The pruning on this tree was performed by a company not qualified to manage such a large tree, and without the experience to recognize the existence of the wood rot. They allowed the tree to grow without treatment for the fungal disease, and did not provide any cabling and bracing to stabilize the co-dominant trunks.
Over the summer, Dallas experienced a small “micro burst” storm that lasted a very short time; but the strong wind and heavy rain caused the tree to move violently and split apart.
Could this have been avoided?
When we come onto a property after the tree has already become a casualty of neglect, it can sometimes be hard to determine exactly what management practices would have definitely prevented the loss. But in this case, there were some obvious issues that could have managed better such as treating for the fungal disease, proper pruning and adding a brace to the co-dominant trunks.
Preventative Pruning: By expertly pruning heavy branches that are over-weighted at the ends, we can take a lot of pressure off the tree. The heavy rains of the last two springs caused a quick flush of growth on the limbs of many trees - many trees aren’t structurally sound enough to support this extra weight.
Fungal Disease: Rain, over-watering, improper watering and weakened health of the tree all contribute to a fungal disease causing decay in your tree. Oftentimes, the fungi works through the center of the tree where you can’t see it. You might see a fungal conk on the outside of the tree alerting you to the damage within, or your tree might defoliate early or the bark will appear to be rotting. A qualified arborist will notice these signs. A guy with just a truck and chainsaw may not. Allowing a tree to go without treatment can result in irreparable damage.
Cabling and Bracing can strengthen your trees during a storm. If your tree has conjoining trunks of similar girth, they will grow heavier, pushing against each other, weakening the joint over time. Eventually, the tree could split during a storm or even just on its own! We can install cables and braces that use bolts or threaded rods to unite trunks and add support. The cabling involves flexible steel cable attached between trunks that reduces excessive movement and reduces stress on the trunks. For more on cabling and bracing, go HERE.
When was the last time you had your trees checked by a certified arborist? Now, before the next round of storms, could be the optimal time to potentially avoid damage to your trees and property by maintaining your tree’s health.
Posted: September 13, 2016