Oak Tree split - What to do?

jjjohnny(6)January 2, 2011

Dear Tree Forum-Folks:

I live in Pittsburgh, PA., and have a beautiful Oak Tree that has developed a split between (2) of (3) limbs. It sits behind my house, with one of the limbs hanging over a gazebo. That limb is probably supported by (2/3rd) of the trunk, with the other limb that hangs over an open field supported by 1/3rd of the trunk. The (3rd) limb is fully supported by the trunk.

Here are my options as I see it:

� Cut off the limb over the open field and leave it as is

� Cut off the (2) limbs & leaving one

� Have (3) cables installed above split, pulling all (3) limbs together and bolting the (2) limbs together at the Y

� Cut the tree down

We sit on top of a hill and get wind out of the south west that tends to be pretty strong at times. My Daughter saw the tree "twist" in the last storm, which was almost "tornadic" in nature.

I would like to hear your opinions, especially those of you who have tried bolting (&/or) cabling, and about what you�ve experienced since doing so.

Thanks in advance for your feed-back!


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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

I feel for you. In my yard two large white ash had to be removed due to splits as both overhung my house. It will make you feel better to plant two trees in the area as replacements. Maybe one of the same species one you have always wanted.

If the gazebo or anything likely to be under the tree is very important to you I would remove the tree. Sucks but leave the cables to botanical gardens and historic trees.

Cutting off a large portion of the crown usually does not look good and leaves an open wound which will never seal over.

It sucks. I miss working on my cars in the shade of the one tree not so much because of the heat, it was just a relaxed environment.

My biggest fear was 'this tree is going to fail in the next five years. Thats a 1/1750 chance any day. My car is parked here, I am inside 2/3 of the time and my house is always under it!

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 11:49AM
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You can usually get a licensed, insured, and certified professional to come out for free and give your their professional opinion and a quote.
That will help you more than a message board where people can't even see the problem.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 1:15PM
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Dan Staley

I would like to hear your opinions, especially those of you who have tried bolting (&/or) cabling, and about what you�ve experienced since doing so.

My opinion is that it is impossible to give a decent opinion with the information provided.

It may be possible to give a halfway decent opinion with photographs, but even after that the knowledgeable commenters here will tell you to get an arborist with ISA after their name to come out and give you their opinion, since they can walk around the tree and we can't.


    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 1:49PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

if i were to spend $1000 on a temporary cabling.. i would be more inclined to spend it on removal ...

without a picture.. words alone .. as dan noted .. are insufficient for anything more than speculation .... nothing would be better than a local professionals on sight inspection ... as noted by g-ma

i do not feel.. that trees can heal.. the way a broken bone can heal ... cabling and bolting are not really going to allow the tree to 'heal' .... and it will be forever a problem ... are you willing to make a tree guys boat payment every year.. for him to come back inspect and adjust cabling .... it is not a one time and done procedure ...

also.. if it is a threat to person or home.. or gazebo ... most likely it should go.. since repair does not really remove the threat ...

a lot of us hard core gardeners.. mourn the loss of an old friend.. but are able to look beyond the loss and see the potential for new things .... and i think that is where you are stuck ... you have an opportunity to change the face of your garden ... go for it.. change is good .. especially if the thing can kill you while sipping an adult beverage in the gazebo ..

any chance at a pic???


    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 8:57AM
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Thanks to all that took the time to read and (especially) respond! I would have included pictures, but I don't think you can insert a file into the forum message. Does anyone know how? Those who would be interested in seeing a picture can send an e-mail to:
I'll send pictures back.
Again, thanks so much for your responses.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 10:24AM
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Dan Staley

Plenty of instructions around here on how to link to pictures on a hosting site.

Nonetheless, it is unnecessary to post pix, as all you are going to get by posting fotos is a reply stating that you need to get someone out there to look at it.

I say again: you need to get someone out there to look at it. In other words: you need to get someone out there to look at it. Did I mention that you need to get someone out there to look at the tree?


    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 10:31AM
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Cabling is just putting off the inevitable. No pictures necessary.

Did Dan mention having a licensed, bonded, and insured tree professional out to look at your oak? LOL

My yard had an ancient cabled basswood - cabling done when the tree was about 40 years less ancient and 40 years less huge. I had it, and a companion basswood, taken down two years ago to the tune of $2500. Nothing is worth a risk to life and limb or major property damage.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 2:27PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I think Dan summed up my thoughts best in his first post.

I don't agree with the dismissiveness regarding cabling expressed in some of the other responses. Based on the info provided, cabling probably won't be the best answer, but I also wouldn't completely eliminate it from the possibilities without more info. In some situations, proper cabling can be a great long-term solution to an otherwise serious problem.

One of the easiest ways to provide your photo to be embedded into a post is to upload it onto an image hosting site such as Photobucket, Flickr, etc. That should be pretty straight forward, and the individual sites will give instructions on how to get your photos uploaded to their site when you sign up.

Once your picture has been uploaded, find its image location address (URL) by right clicking on the image and copying the image location. Some sites may even provide the appropriate HTML code in a text box below the photo for your convenience. It will be the one that begins with a href=...

Let's say, as an example, that the address of the picture you want to post is http://somepicturesite.com/yourpicture.jpg

To embed the picture into a post, use the command:
img src="http://somepicturesite.com/yourpicture.jpg">;

If your picture is too large to fit nicely into the text page, you can add a width attribute.

The command with the width attribute would look something like:
img src="http://somepicturesite.com/yourpicture.jpg"; width=600>

Another option is to use a text link which might be beneficial to people on slow connections.

To do this, use the command:
a href="http://somepicturesite.com/yourpicture.jpg">your text goes here/a>

Note that I had to use special characters to get the commands above to show up here without turning into pictures, but you can use them as shown (with the correct image web address, of course).

    Bookmark   January 3, 2011 at 6:28PM
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