Arboricultural Systems Integration  972-772-5314

This stately Red Oak was butchered by a 'door knocker'.  The price was low, just as was the competence of the operator of the chainsaw.  Wounds of this nature take many years to seal themselves.  The deepest cut could introduce decay into the very heartwood of the tree.  Both the entry sidewalk and the curb had been cracked by the large free falling limbs.  Too rapid raising of the canopy may result in sunscald of the previously shaded areas of the trunk.

Doesn't this appear to be a nicely planted Live Oak?


To a professional, it is not.  It is an example of almost everything gone wrong.  Yet it may be years before the owner realizes just how many problems this rather expensive installation will cost.


A.  The extremely lanky growth indicates that far too much turf nutrition is being applied.  Not only does this create problems with trees by producing rank growth that is likely to fail in wind, ice, or snow, but it requires much more frequent mowing than a reasonable fertilization program.
B.  ASI would have rejected this tree at the grower or nursery due to the large, acutely junctured, subordinate limb on the right hand side of the trunk.  Ideally, this branch should be gradually reduced over a period of several years, allowing the canopy produced by the main trunk to gain dominance on the right side of the tree.  Then the limb can be removed.  If ignored, this limb will either require cabling or it will eventually split away from the main trunk.  This can cause property damage (take a look at the expensive fencing that will eventually be in reach of this limb), or it may cause a serious injury to someone using the sidewalk or street on the other side of the fence.  And of course losing such a major portion of its canopy in the future may result in mortality.
C.  Though esthetically pleasing, planters of this type are rarely designed and installed properly.  First, it may be a way to compensate for a failure to plant the tree at the proper depth on this slope.  If planted at the proper depth, the plantar would be located on the up hill side of the tree, functioning as a retaining wall.  Second, it invites filling the planter with soil, cutting off oxygen to the root system and stressing the tree.  Third, roots extending out beneath the stone planter will contact it as they expand in girth, causing a compression injury that will give insects and disease organism direct access to the tree’s vascular system.
D.  The plantings made atop, or into, the root ball may cause tree mortality.  Extra soil cuts off oxygen.  Mulch or soil placed in contact with the tree trunk’s aerial bark will eventually result in decay, and loss of the tree.  Plants of this height also tend to keep the aerial bark moist, rather than allowing sun and wind to dry the bark adequately.
E.  This is a Live Oak, a large growing tree, which was planted far too close to the sidewalk.  Generally, we recommend planting large growing trees at least 40 feet from any structure or concrete flatwork.  Within a few years this tree can have roots penetrating beneath the walkway, causing damage to both the tree roots and the walkway.  Either type of damage is expensive.  In this case our standards would have required a root barrier along the tree’s side of the walkway.