Recommended: Cement to fill hole in tree. Yes or no?

trowelgal(Kansas Zone 5)August 30, 2009

Hi,

I had three tree trimming companies come out to give me estimates on tree work. My 35 year old silver Maple in the front yard (focal point for the house and provides a lot of shade)has two holes where limbs were removed about 13 years ago. The first fellow said it couldn't be saved, had to be cut down (I could have cried) and the cost would be over $3,000. The second fellow said he could put cement in the cavities and it would heal over and after he took a lot of weight off by trimming the heavy limbs that the tree would be fine. Third guy also said it didn't need to be taken down but the cement wasn't needed to fill the holes. My question is this...have any of you had experience with putting cement in a tree? I asked if he could use insulation expanding foam and he told me the squirrels would chew it out of the tree and I have tons of ornery squirrels around here. Sorry this is so long...Any help you can offer from your own experiences would be appreciated.

Tina from Kansas City area

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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

Cement is a terrible idea. It must have been an old arborist that suggested this because this is an old, outdated, and erroneous method for correcting structural problems. The modern method is to use cables and bracing to support the trees although sometimes the best solution is to cut it down. Anyone who recommends cement is a hack and you should seek help elsewhere.

Silver maples have very brittle wood and they have a tendency to develop these cavities. It's the price that has to be paid for their fast growth. I can't believe the one guy quoted you $3000. That is ridiculous. If I lived nearby, I would do it myself for far less than that. If you decide to take it down, I would get several more quotes before you shell out any money.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 9:20PM
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Carrie B

Definitely no on the cement. What you really need is an ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) certified arborist. Preferably a certified consulting arborist who would NOT be the one hired to do the work (& therefore would not have a financial incentive while giving you advice) to come out and give you a professional opinion and report.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 9:43PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

keep interviewing removers.. until you find one who will do the job for about $500 ....

and then ask him if he will take $300 since he will sell the firewood ... and then demand he leave you all the mulch ...

the other 3 where idiots.. TAKING ADVANTAGE OF YOU ...

REPORT ALL OF THEM TO THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU ...

for god's sake..

cement went out in the 60's ... NOBODY USES IT ... EVER!!!!!!

$3000 in kansas???? maybe NY .. or NJ ... crimminey ....

HOW CLOSE IS THIS TREE TO YOUR HOUSE????

God!!!! this pisses me off ...

ken

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 10:54PM
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iforgotitsonevermind(♪☺♫)

Report them to the better business bureau?!?
She's not even a customer of theirs.

The BBB is not a regulatory government agency that goes after frauds. What the BBB can do however is help customers try to resolve disputes and provide statistics on disputes to others.

What I have to add to the original discussion is to go ahead and plant a replacement tree so in the eventuality the silver maple is removed (35 yrs is pretty good for a silver maple btw) you will have already gotten a head start. Ask about long lived trees. There are some oaks that live hundreds of years and grow pretty quick. Bur Oak is constantly recommended here.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2009 at 11:56PM
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trowelgal(Kansas Zone 5)

On my way to work and then teach a class tonight so will answer soon. I sure am appreciating the feedback and good advice.
Tina

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 7:59AM
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pineresin

"the other 3 where idiots.. TAKING ADVANTAGE OF YOU ... "

Being a bit unfair on #3 there Ken! #3 did after all say cement was not needed!

Resin

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 9:05AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Ken was so mad at #1 and #2, that he was ready to club anyone with a chainsaw. LOL

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 10:06AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'm sort of awed by someone who has been able to hold on to a totally improper practice for SOOOOOOOO many years after it has been debunked! It's difficult to fathom, or it would be if I didn't know such people existed.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 10:23AM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

Whatever company recommended this practice should not be chosen to do work by ANYONE, let alone the OP. What a clown show. And 3K to remove a young silver maple?!? Who are these people and aren't there any certified arborists in the area?!

Dan

    Bookmark   August 31, 2009 at 10:39AM
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trowelgal(Kansas Zone 5)

All of the tree trimmers who gave me bids had "certified arborist" on their cards. I had the trees trimmed yesterday and both trees cabled to add strength. No cement was put in any tree. The price was fair and they cleaned up pretty well. The second man who bid this job was the only one who said he would take off a branch that overhung my neighbor's pond. The other two tried to talk me out of it because they didn't want to be in such a precarious position. I told them that the neighbor gave me permission to go into her yard if they needed to and they still tried to tell me I didn't really want that branch cut off. The nice thing is the fellow who was very willing to take down that limb over the pond had the lowest bid too. My trees now look like the trees in a park which is what I wanted.
I am pleased and want to thank all of you who offered your advice and expertise.
Tina

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 10:15AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Maybe "Joe" was JSA (Joe's Society of Arboriculture) certified and Bob was BAA (Bob's Arborists Association) certified. Unfortunately, some certification programs apparently aren't worth the paper used for the certificate. Always look for an ISA Certified Arborist when in need of an arborist.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 11:42AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Oh yea, glad to hear you got your tree taken care of! I hope it was done correctly (especially the cabling). Maybe now you can get some relaxation in the shade!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 11:45AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Did your tree guy use leg spikes to climb the tree, or did he have the use of a bucket truck during the entire process?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 1:11PM
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trowelgal(Kansas Zone 5)

The guys were "climbers", no bucket truck was used. I saw the guy who took the last limb off up there but I didn't look at his shoes, sorry. The rest of the men were already down when I got home. Hope the cables are in correctly, I am new to all this. But you can bet I will be better informed next time. I have less shade now but less leaves to rake in the fall too.
Tina

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 2:21PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Climbers hopefully don't use spikes any more (except maybe when removing a tree), although I hear spikes are necessary when climbing the tree to install the concrete.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2009 at 4:23PM
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dan_staley(5b/SS 2b AHS 6-7)

There are still some old schoolers around that use spikes when they suspect folk don't know any better.

The only 'certified arborist' on a card should have the ISA symbol. If not, then they can drive away.

Dan

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 12:40PM
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trowelgal(Kansas Zone 5)

Dan,
I went back over the business cards I got from the three tree trimming companies. Only one had the ISA on their card. He was the one who wanted to cut down the silver maple and trim the backyard tree to the tune of $3,600. He didn't get my job. I am happy with what the other fellows did. Thanks for letting me know what to look for should I need a tree trimmer in the future.
Tina

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 1:21PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

It was said "The only 'certified arborist' on a card should have the ISA symbol. "

An ISA certified arborist would also have a small official, half-inch logo stating same.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2009 at 2:17PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Good one, brandon!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2009 at 12:31PM
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