Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Decision Time

Here is a Norway maple that developed a double-stem trunk and a multi-stem top many years ago. The double stem formed a bad joint with included bark, resulting in the tree splitting to the ground. The current owner of this tree has attempted to make it better by tying the two sides together with a chain. Cabling a tree can extend the useful life if it is done right, but the method pictured places pressure on the cambium which will kill it, causing dieback and rot in the stems meant to be saved. Cables need to be anchored with lag bolts designed for this application, or bolts with a washer and nut on the back side of the stem. Cabling should be done only by those with arborist training.
This tree also has a girdling root, and it is choking the stem of the tree, which is evidenced by the fungus beginning to show at the base of the trunk. This was caused by poor planting technique. Potted and burlapped trees need to be inspected before they go in the ground, and all circling roots must either be straightened or cut. I prefer to cut them because it makes the work go much faster.

If you look closely you will see we have some tips dying in the top of the crown. This tree truly is a goner, and it is time to replace it with a new tree. The sad part of this case is that proper planting, and a couple of snips with a pruner thirty years ago would have made this into a sound shade tree. The good news is that there is plenty of room to drop this tree if the owner finds someone who knows how to do directional falling.

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