A solitary Douglas Fir - 125 ft. Is it dangerous?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by 22bigclo, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. 22bigclo

    22bigclo Member

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    I have a Doug fir in my back yard that is now the only tree of that size in the neighbourhood. I (and my neighbours!) are growing somewhat concerned about the tree, given the significant winds that have been occuring over the past few years. It has also dropped a number of large branches during the wind storms. I had a spiral prune done to it several years ago, but I am worried now that as it is on its own it might go over. Suggestions have been made to top it, but I think that is ill-advised. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can deal with my tree?
  2. David Payne Terra Nova

    David Payne Terra Nova Active Member

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    Port Coquitlam, B.C. Canada
    Only a "hack" tree service would want to top a coniferous tree, unless it had a dead top and there were targets that it might hit if it were to break off. Topping a coniferous tree can be an eventual death sentence for the tree. It will rot from the top. (search CODIT-compartmentalization of disease in trees)
    (also search-Dr. Alex Shigo)

    The tree will probably live for many more years, but would look ugly if topped. The stress associated with topping can also attract disease and insects.

    Also, the trees auxins (growth hormone) will bend the top most branches that are left to create a new co-dominant central leader. The tree is preprogrammed to be a certain height and it will grow back into its original excurrent form and height.

    These top branches/central leaders can be weakly attached and can also be a hazard as they can break off.

    Was there construction or were there other trees removed from the immediate area?

    Please call a reputable Certified I.S.A Arborist in your area and pay that person for a consultation and evaluation of your tree and the surrounding area. The Internation Society of Arboriculturists have a list of qualified persons in your area on line.

    If you decide to remove the Douglas fir, it would be a shame in my opinion
    You do require an arborist report so that you can request a removal and there are bylaw fees to be paid in Vancouver. (if the city will allow it) And I believe there is a two to one replacement ratio required from the cities approved tree list. Without my pulling out a copy of the bylaw, the Douglas fir may also be
    considered a specimen tree and cannot be touched.

    Without actually being on your property to see the tree first hand, and asking you alot of questions
    I cannot say if there is a hazard.

    Trees will naturally lose branches in wind storms. Douglas firs will bend quite a distance in the wind.

    Having had the tree spiral pruned was good due dilligence on your part.

    Neighbors can be well meaning, but uninformed and some-times the cause of stress.

    Note: If any-one has a tree company in to do pruning or thinning, ask them if they do
    "spurless climbing" Those tree spurs can really damage a tree.
    Also, ask for proof of workers compensation insurance and liability.

    As a home owner, you can search your cities tree bylaws on line.
    Some cities will not even allow you to prune your own trees without a permit!!!

    I'm ISA/ITA/CLT a Journeyman Landscaper, Industry Certified Horticulturist, ISA Arborist and WCB Hazard tree assessor. Unfortunately, I'm in Port Coquitlam and don't want to drive to Vancouver for a Consultation. For reference my consulting fee is only $70 per hour. Good-Luck
  3. ryansenechal

    ryansenechal Active Member

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    Victoria, CAD
    If you're genuinely concerned, have an assessment performed by a qualified Arborist. If you want specific recommendations, PM me.

    A web forum is not the place for risk assessments, photos or not.

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