Spruce roots surfaced & split in heavy wind

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by Annie J, Jul 12, 2008.

  1. Annie J

    Annie J Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    South Kootenay, BC
    Hi there...we have two 40', 25-year old trees in our small front yard, which I believe are Spruce. We had an extreme wind storm a couple of nights ago & afterwards, 3 roots from one of these trees partially or fully split about 3' from the trunk & one is now fully above the ground.

    We love these trees & have made them a focal point in our emerging landscape. When the roots heaved the old concrete sidewalk lat year, we purposely chose to re-path with flagstone & sand, rather than restrict the roots again with concrete.

    We are, of course, concerned that the stability of the tree has been comprimized. Can anyone tell us if the percentage of roots which are damaged is significant? I think I've attached some photos which may be helpful. Sorry, there's some confusing lumber & landscape materials in the first shot...it's the third one which best shows the scope of the damage.

    We would be very grateful for any insight or opinions.

    Thank very much
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Penticton
    Hi Annie, I am sorry about your tree and looking at the pictures I can see, why you love it. It is clear, that the partial uprooting makes this fir more vulnerable during the next major windstorm. I would contact a reputable arborist in your area about capping off a piece from the top of the tree. It is plain physics, that just a modest shortening of the height reduces the leverage for the wind to grab on to and therefore the danger of toppling the tree significantly.

    Good luck,
    Olaf
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,829
    Likes Received:
    199
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Doesn't look too bad to me. Definitely do NOT take the top of the tree off, that is a recipe for dreadful shape in the future, plus a high risk (read: guarantee) of future decay and branch breakage in the crown.

    I'd leave the tree as it is, take up the paving slabs close to the tree and the major roots, and put down 5-10cm depth of mulch (e.g. shredded wood, etc.).
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,199
    Likes Received:
    326
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    You are correct, these are spruces.
     
  5. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Penticton
    Just to be picky, the spruce is actually a type of fir and was originally called 'spruce fir', before the name was shortened to spruce.

    But that aside, if you look closely at the twigs, you will see, that the needles are not located around the stem of the twig circularly (in cross-section), as they would be in a spruce, but flat. When viewed from the top, the stem of the twig is unobstructed by needles. That makes it a fir in my book, although the relative fullness of the needles makes this fir appear similar to a spruce.
     
  6. Olafhenny

    Olafhenny Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Penticton
    As far as the loss of shape and appearance through capping the tree is concerned, there is of course a trade off between a perfectly shaped tree, which may collapse one day (on the house?) and a save, mature not so shapely tree.

    When I was a kid, cows got into our yard and bit off the top of a blue spruce. I took one of the side shoots and tied it to the remaining stump. This shoot took over the lead as the new stem and the little kink in the trunk was soon no longer noticeable, I doubt that such repair would be possible using branches, which are a number of years old, though I have seen trees in the bush, where something similar appeared to have happened.

    Typically a capped conifer will develop two or more new trunks. When that happens, the arborist could be retained again to cut off all but the most centrally located one. Sure there will be a 'hick-up' in the shape of the tree for quite a few years, but is the alternative of risking to lose it altogether preferable?
     

Share This Page