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Martin
Martin, Electrical Engineer
Category: Landscaping
Satisfied Customers: 4956
Experience:  Design, construct, fix and grow stuff around and in the home.
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I have a mature very large oak tree, lately when there are

Customer Question

I have a mature very large oak tree
JA: What kind of climate are you in?
Customer: lately when there are thu detstirms ir strong winds branches are breaking iff
JA: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?
Customer: no
JA: Anything else we should know to help you best?
Customer: Done spots on the branches
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Landscaping
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I'm on the east coast New York State near new yor city
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Is the tree diseased? What should I do to diagnose
Is this normal?
Expert:  Martin replied 2 months ago.

Hi. Can you get me som picture of the tree? (and perhaps also of a broken branche) How old is it? How is the foilage and was it pruned by a company at one point (perhaps before you got the house).

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I've been in the house almost 30 years and the tree preceded me. The foilage is a deep green and healthy. It has begun producing acorns. I have had it pruned and fertilzed by an arborist periodcally but not for about 3 years. I will send photos later
Expert:  Martin replied 2 months ago.

Great, take the time you need.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Expert:  Martin replied 2 months ago.

The main trunk look fine and the foilage seem ok (with a few normal defoliated terminal branches for a tree of that size).

The 1801 picture show what seem to be white rot on one of the branch. I can't say exactly what fungus from the distance but it seem to be destroying the lignin as what is visible seem pale. It does not seem to invade the main trunk meaning the encapsulation may currently taking place well and that big branche will eventually break. Climbing there would be required to really assess the damage. The under of the branch seem less affected because being on compression the wood is more dense, but it's just a question of time. Infection may have entered at one of the pruning cut or from climbing shoes spikes.
I seem to see a steel wire in the tree (may be something else), those can also be infection cause.
I assume most if not all falling branches come from that big one.

I would recommand to get that one cut and treat the knot with an anti fungus product until you notice the bark start to grow over the wound.

As for the lichen, one the branch on the soil, this is not a problem for the tree.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Dear Martin:
Good eye, yes the arborist recommended and inserted 3 cables several years ago when we were expecting a hurricanne to support branches that hang over the roof and yes, I believe the workers used spikes in the process. If his procedure is causing thsprbelem what is your advise?
please explian what you mean in the pharase in quotes:The 1801 picture show what seem to be white rot on one of the branch. I can't say exactly what fungus from the distance but it seem to be destroying the lignin as what is visible seem pale. It does not seem to invade the main trunk meaning the "encapsulation may currently taking place well and that big branche will eventually break"
Expert:  Martin replied 2 months ago.

You have good eyes also :) i made an error with the term, what i was wanting to say is Compartmentalization (essentially meaning the same thing but i did not used the proper term):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compartmentalization_of_decay_in_trees

That process is never perfect and just prolong the heath of the tree but will never allow a tree to live as long as a tree without any prior infection.

On the wires. I don't advise those close to houses because the branches no longer know they are weak so they grow over their natural boundary and the tree will come again in the same situation as when it was too large to start with. In nature, an isolated oak is very rare, they live in stand of trees that shade each others. That make them slender and with shorter span of branches. Most oak in a town become dangerous because of that, they have too much light So at one point, one must decide to cut the tree before it become a job requiring a crane and a bill over $2000. Not waiting too much also mean that the value of the lumber can cover part and sometime all cost while if one wait too much the timber will be hollow (and or contain metal wires).

If the wire is in one of the affected branche and need to be removed, weight reduction need to be made in the healty branche prior to the removal as it grew since then. A wire is not a bad idea to protect a roof but only to catch a branch, not to support (meaning the wire should not be in tension so that the branch can grow in diameter also and not just in lenght). If a branch is soon to break, it is better to make a weight reduction on the tree (keeping the whole tree balanced) than putting a wire in tension.