Weeping Willow Tree- Trunk is splitting

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by Bea Shumey, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. Bea Shumey

    Bea Shumey Member

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    We have a 15 year old Weeping Willow tree that has developed a deep split at the Y in the trunk, about five feet off the ground. Is there any remedy to prevent further splitting of the trunk. If it continues, the tree looks as though it could split diagonally and we would lose both sides of the tree. Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    In reference to remedy, cabling and bracing of trees is in review for efficacy with the learned folk. I have been reading that the effectiveness is suspect for structural support. If the tree does not present imminent danger to anything under it (homes, playgrounds etc) if it fails, the best thing might be to consider pruning to reduce end weight and/or removal to remove risk of failure. If you can post some pictures of the wound it may be helpful and by all means, get someone to view it and give you a hands on course of action. Make sure they have some sort of qualification and/or knowledge that would make their opinion valid.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Cut it down, let it grow back up again from below the fracture.
     
  4. Bea Shumey

    Bea Shumey Member

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    Thank-you for your suggestions, jimmyq

    Since the tree is sizable, cutting it down would be a big loss, so pruning the weight off the top or cutting down one of the large "Y's" would be a better solution aesthetically.
    Has anyone heard of filling the split with concrete? I thought I heard that as a solution to something on a radio talk show. Apparently, some rotting part of a limb was drilled out and then filled with concrete. i wondered if that would at least prevent the water from forming ice in the crevice and splitting it further.
    I'll try to take some photos and post them, once the rain around here ceases.
    Thanks again
     
  5. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    concrete filling isnt suggested any longer. The fill adds no strength to the structure. Filling of cavities can do harm rather than good by sealing in bacteria and such.

    www.treesaregood.com

    there are some good information sheets available through the link above, you may want to have a look through them.
     
  6. Bea Shumey

    Bea Shumey Member

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    Thanks for your update. I'll check out the treesaregood site.
     
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Half a tree, resulting from cutting one of the arms above the break off, or producing a hydra effect by lopping main branches back far enough to reduce weight* significantly I don't think would be more attractive than starting fresh, from near the ground. Willows often have ugly mature bark that contrasts poorly with the glossy surface of the young branches, are thus enhanced by being coppiced anyway. Most grow so fast that a large plant is soon had again only a few years after cutting.

    *What happens after the branches grow back and replace the weight that was there in the first place?
     
  8. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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  9. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Coppicing is cutting off at/near the ground, which is what I've been talking about from the start.
     
  10. Bea Shumey

    Bea Shumey Member

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    Your comments and websites are welcomed and intersting to look through. I wouldn't care for our willow tree to look like those that have been "Pollarded" at the eurobell website, and starting afresh by coppicing will be a huge loss to that area of our yard. A tree in that location would take ten years to grow to any significant size, since the soil is rather poor and dry in the summer. We are still considering what to do, and since it isn't in a position to harm anyone or anything, we will probably leave it alone for now. Is there any insecticide, such as Lime Sulphur that I can pour into the split to keep the critters out, in the meantime? Thanks for both of your comments, Ron and Jimmyq.
     
  11. Bea Shumey

    Bea Shumey Member

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    Photos of Weeping Willow Tree Split

    Here are photos showing both the location of the tree and also the split in the tree, both from the front and the back.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Dalberk1

    Dalberk1 New Member

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    I'm of the mind that there is NO WAY you can kill a weeping willow. My tree grows like crazy. It's old, and my neighbor says my tree has been cut to almost nothing several times; it's still huge. BUT, when I trim the tree it seems to force growth from the trunk. When I cut the branches poking out from the trunk, then it just grows more branches from where I made the original cut. Is there something I can put on the trunk after I cut these low branches, to make it stop growing? In other words, this tree wants to look like a bush no matter what I do. Help!?
     
  13. Want a dead weeping willow tree? My mom can kill any plant, especially the ones she wants kept alive! And, yes, she has accidentially killed a weeping willow tree, too.
     
  14. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Does look likely to split down the middle. To try and keep as is hire an ISA Certified Arborist or other who provides some evidence they actually are educated in tree care to cable it together.
     
  15. oscar

    oscar Active Member

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    I would suggest planting another tree as soon as you can, ready to take the place of the damaged tree. Learn a bit about formative pruning, so the new tree grows with a stronger leader.
     
  16. Dale Thomas

    Dale Thomas Member

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    Hi Bea,

    Several months ago I saw an episode one of those home care TV shows where large scale remodeling is done to homes

    As a sidebar to the program, there was a story of a homeowner who had a different kind of tree from yours, but with a very similar problem. The solution was simple. They drilled the tree in such a way as to insert a threaded steel rod all the way through the trunk of the tree in a direction and in a placement (almost as high on the trunk as the crotch of the"Y") that would allow nuts with large flat washers next to the wood of the tree, to pull the split together as the nuts were tightened. Actually, they didn't pull the trunk all the way together, they just pulled it noticeably closer and enough to take the stress off the split and to prevent the split from continuing.

    I'm not certain whether there was some sort of protctive spray or compound used on the tree before the nuts and washers were tightened. I think the all threaded rod they used was a 3/4" diameter. That size, or maybe even a 5/8" diameter rod should work well for your tree, as you tree is smaller than the one on the TV program.

    Also, your tree would be easier to repair because the one doing the work on the TV program had to climb several feet over the ground to accomplish the task. You could do all the work on your tree while standing on the ground or maybe on a step ladder.

    Eventually, the tree will grow over the steel and cover the wound completely. The hole for the rod should be just large enough to insert the rod easily all the way through the trunk without using any force.

    The place on the tree where the nuts fit, was drilled significantly larger in diameter than the diameter of the nuts so they could be countersunk into the tree, tightened with a socket and ratchet wrench, and the rod could be cut off near the outside diameter of the tree while the nuts were hidden by the tree.

    The show was a one hour episode of "Ask This Old House", but the tree repair sidebar was about 10 or 15 minutes. I think you could get more detailed information by contacting their web site. I think it may be askthisoldhouse.com or something similar.

    Good luck saving your Weeping Willow,
    Dale Thomas
     
  17. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    cabling and bracing should be done by an experienced professional. but the process described sounds like they got it about right. no need or want for any 'pruning paint' or sealants etc.
     
  18. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I too am an owner of a weeping willow tree (2 actually) and know their resprouting tendencies well. And Dalberk, I don't think there is any remedy against it!

    Funny how we are so often eager to let nature take its course but we just can't cope with death being part of the course, can we? Whether you cable this tree now or not, eventually nature dictates that the two main branches will get bigger and heavier and eventually the tree will split. Then it may die, or it may only half-survive. This tree is lovely, but Mother Nature has decreed that it will not be there forever, and maybe not even for very long.

    Given the tree's location, out in the middle of nowhere, and its identity - the eminently replaceable and fast-growing willow - this seems like a really easy decision to me, although not the one you want to hear. Oscar is right. Plant a new one nearby, and wait for the inevitable.
     
  19. Dale Thomas

    Dale Thomas Member

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    Funny how we are so often eager to let nature take its course but we just can't cope with death being part of the course, can we?

    I think we take the same tack with our beloved trees that we do with our human loved ones. We know death is in the cards, we just want to delay that particular card as long as it's not harmful to the rest of the game. :-)
    Dale
     

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