If a tree falls......

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by jpasquini, Oct 26, 2021.

  1. jpasquini

    jpasquini Active Member 10 Years

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    So first I have no idea which is the politically correct forum to put this question in, so by all means shuff it into the right spot. Except for my perpetual complaint about online forums dividing topics into hundreds of sub-forums, so nobody ever sees your post. But I digress.

    Here is what I believe is a Bradford Pear hybrid, its a popular shade tree sold in nurseries here that grows small, inedible fruits, grows quickly, and absolutely sucks. That is because it has (so I've heard) a genetic default where it keeps growing until it splits. Happily for me, I have a large one of these in my backyard- it has never split, but I have had large branches taken off it that looked dangerous.

    Now here we have my rental property, which as luck would have it, also has one of these hybrid trees. Its laden with its little brown useless fruits, and heavy. So lo and behold, a storm happens and a big branch splits off.
    Miraculously, it fell between the properties and did not even take down the neighbors fence. So I was spared a huge settlement, though taking out the tree would be expensive enough (tree removal here can run into the thousands).

    To make a long story longer, after I cleaned up the mess the neighbor showed up with his chainsaw, all eager to remove the tree. Too big to take out, and sorry, I don't have thousands in my back pocket to call a tree removal service right now- I'm literally living on borrowed money at the moment. So we got a pole saw, ladder, and took about 300 lbs of branches off the tree with the one goal of it not splitting again, and falling on property. Never mind the 'you killed the tree', I was well aware of that, but the immediate goal was it not falling on anything.

    Now my question for the Forum is this: First- viewing the pictures- how likely does it look a branch might fall on the neighbors fence. 2nd- viewing the state of the tree now, is it to be pronounced dead, or is it possible it could live.
    3rd- viewing the trunk. Provided it could live, should I do something? Clean up the base so that water doesn't pool inside, maybe cut a slope at the broken part, does that make sense?
    Also, does it look like the trunk is too narrow now to support the tree?
    Any opinions are welcome. My hope is, since the leaves will fall soon, the tree at least lives through the winter, and gives me time to raise money to have it taken down. THANKS!
     

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  2. jpasquini

    jpasquini Active Member 10 Years

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    One more comment. What are people's thoughts on tying the tree branches together with a rope or chain of some sort, higher up for branch support? Does it look necessary, or does that sort of solution even work.

    Found this:
    Tree Preservation - The how's and why's of cabling - Arbutus Tree Service

    What if I cabled it, and did not cut the tree down, left it?
    My thinking is, to drill a small hole through each of the trunk limbs, run a steel cable through it.... then instead of a come-along maybe have a couple bolts on the ends you can tighten if it needs to be kept taught.
    ? ? ? ???? ?
     

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    Last edited: Oct 26, 2021
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Sorry, but very liable to more splits and break-up, those forked stems are very weak. Cabling can work, but it's a task for an expert, not a d.i.y. job at all . . . so again, expensive, sadly. If your neighbour feels confident about taking it down piecemeal, go for it while it is still small enough only to damage fences rather than houses, but be VERY careful about it! The longer it is left, the more dangerous, and more expensive, the job gets. Oh, and the tree is not dead, nor are they particularly easy to kill. Even a stump will sprout again.
     
  4. jpasquini

    jpasquini Active Member 10 Years

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    Well they can't be that suceptible to breaking or they would be crushing houses all over the country, and we'd have to declare a national emergency. Nope, they're still being sold and bought in nurseries everywhere. Leaving out the weak forked stem part of course.
    In this case the stem had some rot at that crotch, as the neighbor kept pointing out. The other crotches are rot free. Also I doubt the tree grows any more this year or much next year after the whallop it got, we took off almost half its bulk. I took a limb off the one in my backyard and it didn't grow an inch this year. Eh well.
    You tried to give me bad news, but it didn't work! We'll see haha
     
  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Do consider that "almost half its bulk" is probably better stated as "almost half its aboveground bulk". It now has a root system that is out of balance with the aboveground...so I would expect a burst of growth next year.
     
  6. vitog

    vitog Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I see no sign of rot in the broken area of the trunk. All of the narrow crotches just above the broken one will be just as weak, as Michael F pointed out. The only safe thing to do is to remove all branches with narrow crotches.
     
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Errr, well, they are! They really ought to be banned from sale, they've been known to be a high risk tree for decades. If nurseries were made financially liable for the damage their knowingly-dangerous products caused, they'd stop selling them right away. Unfortunately, they're very cheap to produce, and look nice for the first 5 years or so, so they go on selling them anyway as a big profit-maker :-(
     
  8. Sulev

    Sulev Well-Known Member

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    Maximum 15 minutes of work with a chain saw or max 2 hours with a handsaw, and the problem is gone.
    I see no reason to hire arborist's service for removing such a small tree.
    BTW, what bird was nesting there?
     
  9. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    KISS : keep it super simple. The longer the question, the less chance you have to get an answer. ;-)

    That being said :

    Best answer so far.

    If you rent a property, it's your responsability to make sure the place is safe. I's a necessary investment. It would cost you more if the neighbors' property was damaged, or worse, if someone was hurt.
     
  10. jpasquini

    jpasquini Active Member 10 Years

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    I don't think the size of this tree is apparent in the pictures. We're talking 40 feet at least. This is no 15 minute chain saw job.
    We spent 2 hours with a chainsaw already, and that was just taking out some branches.
    Well I can say I'm quite surprised. I thought I would be trounced for hacking too much at the tree, it seems the crowd wants it razed.
    As for the expected burst of growth, again I must say I have the exact same tree in my backyard, Bradford Pear. Which is far bigger, and you really would like me to take down and out, and spare no expense.
    I hired someone to take one limb out on that tree last year- and had a pile of branches resulting that filled the yard, and took 8 loads to remove. And the tree grew not one inch the following year from the shock I must assume. And it usually grows like mad. Stunted would be an understatement.

    As for any 'necessary investments', focusing on keeping the wolves from the door at the moment. Let those invest who don't need the money, and just provide housing for free as a much deserved public service.....
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2021
  11. Sulev

    Sulev Well-Known Member

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    You don't have to turn this tree completely into saw dust with your chain saw. Just cut it into small logs you can handle (and use this wood for heating your home).
    Last winter I removed eight 50-years old plums from my yard, so my estimation was based on that experience. 40 feet long is a small tree.

    If you are ready to tie branches of this pear together with a cable or a chain, it is really better idea to remove the tree. Any hole you drill into these branches would weaken those even more and risk for causing damages to the neighbors fence (or even seriouos injury to somebody) would increase significantly.
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    If it had been an interesting or unusual tree, we would have been . . . but it's a bradford pear. Trash tree, the fewer of them, the better ツ
     
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  13. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    Put some tension on each of those four main branches, one at a time, in the safest direction, cut 'em and you're golden. A rope or a come-along and your neighbour's chinsaw.
    Cheers
     
  14. pinenut

    pinenut Active Member 10 Years

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    Proof of concept: We had these two dead spruces drowned by a beaver dam. (Dam beavers now deceased). Both trees leaning away from the creek. First tree roped to a tree on the farside with a come-along, second tree with tension from the stump of the first. Dropped within three feet of one another. Dropped another one near the house that was uprooting in the wind. With the use of the triangle in a kid's elementary school geometry set, I knew it wasn't threatening the house, but there were other things that I didn't want crushed. It was better that I drop it rather than have it come down at random. I find that trees are seldom as tall as I think. Pace out the distance to your obstacles and sight along your kid's (grandkid's, neighbour's kid's) triangle. Its just math.
     

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