Protecting tree from Disease

IBsmilin(7a)April 5, 2013

A tree in our yard appears to be around 100 years old, and it hasn't bloomed yet. We just moved in to our first home in January, and we're just waiting for it to bloom. It's a very large, very "lived in" (by wildlife) tree. I see many many holes where animals have made their homes, and I'm a little concerned about its health. At this point I don't even know what kind of tree it is. Bark peels off pretty easily. What really concerns me most is a tree across the street in my neighbor's yard whose trunk is completely black. If that is some sort of disease, I believe our old big tree would definitely be at risk. What can I do to keep this big guy strong? What can I do to protect it from disease? Thanks for helping a newbie!
Also, if someone wants to teach me how to post a picture, I'd be glad to post one. Thanks!

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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

Pics needed.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 12:25PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

You know, a lot of trees have very insignificant, tiny 'flowers '. It probably blooms every year and you just don't know it.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 2:59PM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

rhizo, I suspect they mean 'leafed out' rather than 'bloomed'. Nevertheless, impossible to tell with information provided.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2013 at 3:40PM
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IBsmilin(7a)

Sorry about the delay. We had some family in town stay longer than expected! Here's what I'm looking at and daily thinking, "Hmmmm..."
This tree is also close enough to the house to cause some damage if she tumbles over, so I really would like to keep her in good shape if at all possible! Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 6:14PM
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gardenapprentice

To be honest the tree looks healthy. It is most likely not a blooming tree maybe some sort if oak or sycamore tree. It's most likely very sturdy and can endure harsh winds, but I would call your local garden extension office and get them to come over and inspect it just to be sure.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 6:23PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

garden, extension service staff doesn't make 'house calls' anymore, at least not in most locations. And the health of trees is not something that I would expect them to be specialized in. One needs to call on a professional for this type of inspection.

I'm worried about the large hollow cavities and the large stubs I see. I can't ID this tree right off the bat, but I can't help but think elm. If it were a sycamore, the upper portion of the trunk would be white.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 6:41PM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

I'm with rhizo, I see hints of cavities, and I definitely see issues of attachment with codominant stems from old-school planting techniques. Some professional work may be in order by an ISA-certified arborist.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 7:10PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

My husband thinks that it might be a hackberry.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 7:40PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

My husband thinks that it might be a hackberry.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 7:41PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

has that tree been topped???.. pic of the whole???

does any of the massive branching go over the house .???

and let me suggest.. that it has been there.. at least 50 years.. with little or no help from anyone ... i doubt there is anything you could do.. to 'save' it.. its that mindset.. that leads to US causing more problems than good ... something along the lines of loving it to death ...

pic of the whole please ... including the house ...

and i am surprised.. no one has recommended the opinion of a certified arborist ... who can actually see the tree in person ... but lets see those pix first ...

ken

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 7:47AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Ken, take off your blinders. Three of us have suggested that professionals need to look at this tree. :-)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:32PM
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IBsmilin(7a)

Here it is next to the house. Yes, lots of cavities (more than 10) that I'm certain are being used by birds. Good? Bad? I don't know! Thanks for any help. It will probably be a good year before I get an arborist in here as we have a ton of projects on this house. Any suggestions for in the meantime would be great. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 1:51PM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

There's nothing you can do other than get an arborist out there and hope no powerful windstorm comes through before then.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:34PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The cavities are bad bad bad. It means that the tree may be severely compromised by insects or disease. Birds cannot make cavities into healthy wood.

What kind of suggestions are you looking for? Does it bother you that those huge branches might be hollow and rotten? Really....you need to contact an ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) arborist to evaluate your tree. ISA certification will exclude morons who have to change the magnetic signs on their truck from "Joe's Tree Surgery " to "Joe's Power Washing ".

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:19AM
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beng(z6 western MD)

Yes, from your last pic, it's a hackberry (from the smooth bark, maybe Celtis laevigata) that's been topped previously. In that situation close to the house, it might not have been a bad thing to be topped, tho that always encourages decay at the "cut" points.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:20AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Beng....that's exactly why topping is never a good idea. The practice only serves to make a tree more dangerous while continuing to provide income for the ax man.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:32PM
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IBsmilin(7a)

I just talked to a neighbor who got a bid from a professional to remove a tree smaller than mine from his yard. 1K. Oy vey. This tree should've been moved or removed when the house was first built. Wish they would've thought ahead to how big this guy was gonna get, but then again, that appears to be a trend around the neighborhood. Can't tell you how many poorly placed trees I'm seeing bring hacked down all around. That's probably exactly why they lobbed it up, and, while I'm not a fan of doing that, we may have to lob it again until we decide to remove it... Don't think it has too many years left in it, in that case. Bummer.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 3:17PM
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WxDano(5b-2a-6/7)

Clearly in the past it was...erm..."pruned" by Billy Ray's Tree Service - a good ol' boy with a chainsaw in the back of his beater pickup (that he ties down so the coon hound don't get hit by it when he goes round a corner).

Nevertheless, the concerning shape of the trunk and those two competing major scaffold limbs are a clear indicator of elevated risk, as seen from this distance. A few whacks of a mallet and assessment if some roots came off when that foundation and/or driveway were cut will increase that already increased risk.

But back to the text from the OP. Keeping her in good shape is impossible; that time is far in the past. The tree is not in good shape. If you are going to delay getting a certified arborist out there for a hazard assessment, the best thing to do in the meantime is hope a severe windstorm doesn't happen.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 3:18PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Here's something to consider....the longer you put it off, the higher the removal cost. It's dangerous removing rotting trees and arborists will make you pay for it, rightfully so.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:45AM
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IBsmilin(7a)

Thanks Rhizo. Good thought.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 1:19PM
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