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Old 07-20-2012, 12:17 AM   #1
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Gotta get those trees cut down...

We have a couple of 100+ year old oak trees in our front yard, and they're reaching the end of their lives. yesterday, my wife came home and asked if I'd been outside recently. I hadn't for a couple of hours. A huge (live) limb had snapped off about 40 feet up in the tree, and was laying on the back of my VW Cabriolet. I figured the VW was a goner, but apparently the broken end of the limb just clipped the top boot and the third brake light on it's way down. Those are the only two items that will have to be replaced, and the rest of the car was undamaged. I really dodged the bullet on this one, and at least it wasn't my wife's Beetle convertible.

The drought we're in isn't doing any of the trees any good, and I don't know where I'm going to come up with a couple grand to have them removed.
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:35 AM   #2
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It's always sad to have to remove a mature tree. We had a dying houseplant that was moved to a flower garden next to the foundation of our house, that eventually grew into a huge rubber tree that overhung a portion of the roof.

At about 30 years old and probably 30-40 feet across and 20 feet high, it succumbed to frost damage after two unseasonably cold winters. It was really hard to have that tree cut down, because our sons had helped transplant it, and it was almost as old as our home. However, it was going to die and fall on it's own; if we didn't have it removed.

Hope you may be able to save your tree. Otherwise, my condolences...
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:05 AM   #3
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Of course, none of us can see the oaks from here, but 100 years is not the end of an oak's life....unless something else has happened. Why not consult an arborist to see if a significant "haircut" might be in order?

I have seen it done up here, where they take as much as 1/2 to 2/3 of the crown off and in a few years a nice compact crown has reformed.

Many times, these things break apart due to unwieldy, gangly, over mature branches getting really heavy. In a forest situation, self pruning takes care of a lot of these branches, but in your yard, they get all the sunlight they need to get out of hand over the years.

Large, mature hardwoods are worth so much, on so many levels, that to not get a professional opinion, would be a mistake, IMHO. For what it's worth.
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:09 AM   #4
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Before cutting down the trees, what about pruning them? Cut back any obviously dead wood before it rots. Also cut away any branches that grow at a downward angle; these get more than their fair share of sap due to gravity and starve the limbs that grow upward. A decent tree surgeon would have a better handle on what needs to be done. If you trim away the excess, what's left should gain several additional years.

Only take out the whole tree if the tree surgeon says it can't be saved.
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:00 AM   #5
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Agree with above. We had a maple that was mangled by an ice storm in 2005. I had a certified arborist come. He climbed the tree with ropes and pruned and thinned. Just don't have it topped...needs to be pruned properly and you can maybe have it for years to come. Our maple came back nicely and I no longer worry when it gets windy.
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dznf0g View Post
Of course, none of us can see the oaks from here, but 100 years is not the end of an oak's life....unless something else has happened. Why not consult an arborist to see if a significant "haircut" might be in order?

I have seen it done up here, where they take as much as 1/2 to 2/3 of the crown off and in a few years a nice compact crown has reformed.

Many times, these things break apart due to unwieldy, gangly, over mature branches getting really heavy. In a forest situation, self pruning takes care of a lot of these branches, but in your yard, they get all the sunlight they need to get out of hand over the years.

Large, mature hardwoods are worth so much, on so many levels, that to not get a professional opinion, would be a mistake, IMHO. For what it's worth.
I agree....wait! You just don't grow large oak trees overnight. A hundred is still very young! We have several and I do everything I can to keep them healthy. A very careful trim is really the best answer. Your yard would be vacant without those beautiful trees. Be conservative. Don't take them down. Save our resources.
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:33 AM   #7
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Above all, be careful!

About four years ago, our next-door-neighbors wife was killed instantly by a large branch that fell from a big oak tree.

The tree appeared perfectly healthy and green. There had been absolutely no wind all day. She was sitting in a lawn chair in the shade of the tree, talking to her husband through the side door of their garage. All she had time to do was scream.

It turned out that a crack in the tree had been allowing rainwater to seep into and through the tree for a long time. As the crack was in the fork of the tree, well above head height, no one had seen it. I used to have some pictures, but they've been lost to a hard drive malfunction.

Please get a really good tree expert to inspect your oak trees and fix the damaged parts. I agree with keeping the trees if you can do so safely, because I grew up in west Texas where trees are really hard to get.

Thank Goodness it was only your car.
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:54 AM   #8
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:19 PM   #9
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I'd rather not have them cut down, but we have a pattern going on with all the oak trees the neighbors have lost over the past 5 years or so. The arborist comes out, starts to work on them, then finds that they're completely hollow. The ones I've watched cut down looked much better than ours externally, but they'd deteriorated badly inside.

This reminds me of my grandfather's elm trees in Corpus Christi. When his house was built in 1950, the city came around offering to plant elm trees for $5 each. Grandpa bought four. They were beautiful trees, with two at the curb and two in the backyard. All the neighbors bought them as well, and by the time I was old enough to appreciate them, there was a canopy that shaded almost the entire street, and great shade in the backyard.

By 1985, when my grandfather died, all the elms were dying from dutch elm disease. I visited the neighborhood in 2000, and they were all gone.

The arborist has told my wife that he believes our trees are past saving, but he's going to take a better look. The problem is that nobody really knows how old these oaks are because the neighborhood was built in the early 1900s around existing trees.
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:49 PM   #10
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Well I would give anything to have the two 100 year old oak trees back in the back yard that got blown over this past march. They were in good shape though and not a hazard.

Perry
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:31 PM   #11
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Save them if you can...start fertilizing them really well, that is what we had to do, now they are in great shape after a couple years of heavy fertilizer.
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