Cedar Elm and Post Oak-What to Do

bjb817December 18, 2013

I also inherited a post oak and cedar elm with my house that are probably about 30-40' tall roughly. No doubt these were growing wild here. I'm on the fence about what to do with them as they both have some issues.

The cedar elm is infested with mistletoe and ball moss. It's also, quite frankly not a beautiful tree.

The post oak appears to be hollowing out and splits fairly close to the ground. It also has quite a bit of ball moss.

I had an arborist out today and he thought the trees could be cleaned of the offending parasites, trimmed up a bit and might be ok.

I just hate to throw good money after bad if these trees indeed have seen their best days. I'm almost leaning toward cutting bait and getting something new in the ground that can start growing now.


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salicaceae(z8b FL)

Personally, I love old venerable post oaks. I have several on my property and appreciate their rugged beauty. I would keep it and let the elm goâ¦But that's me. If the post oak is stable and not likely to fall on your house, I would keep it. The ball moss is not a parasite by the way. A large amount of it indicates a thin crown usually in the host, but the moss isn't the cause.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 11:02PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

no pic no comment .... but that wont stop me.. lol ...

a true arborist.. or a monkey with a chainsaw ???? . .. willing to come back every time you need work done... you suggestion of not throwing money away on him.. yet ... seems to indicate the latter ...

what do you mean.. hollowing out... that it is already rotting from the inside ... ??? ... if so.. i dont know why you would spend money for anything but removal ... though.. w/o that pic.. who knows how long it could live ... but the question usually comes down to where it will fall.. if it does fail ... if anything valuable.. its got to go...

no clue on mistletoe and moss ...


    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 6:47AM
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This was an actual certified arborist, not "Chuck and a Truck". I told him I'd like to save them is possible, so I think he was approaching things from that angle. The more I think about it, I'm not so sure about saving them though,,,

The privacy fence would be the closest thing they could realistically damage if they were to go down.

Pic #1 is the cedar elm. There's actually the "main" tree growing straight and then another one right next to it growing sideways, Even if we kept it, the sideways one would go for sure.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 9:32AM
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Post Oak-full shot

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 9:34AM
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Post oak-Damage at base-rotting out?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 9:36AM
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Rotting out at old cut?

Sorry for the poor quality of the pics. They blurred out when they resized on here.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 9:38AM
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Both Post Oak and Cedar Elm are usually decent quality trees for Z8 Tx. That said I usually prefer my yard trees to be spaced at least 18 ft apart, and if it's rotten to the point of falling you might want to go ahead and cut down. Can't tell enough from you pictures to advise. My general rule is I like some shade in the summer time and probably would prefer to trim a tree and try to keep it for a while if I was needing shade. If not, the chainsaw is always available.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 7:38PM
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It seems like most Post Oaks are more attractive than mine. Somehow I got stuck with a "dud". If mine had a more attractive form, I'd be much more willing to work with it. I just can't see how the long term prognosis can be good for a tree that's starting to rot out though.

While there certainly are attractive Cedar Elms out there, they'll never make my list of favorites due to their susceptibility to mistletoe. I know the pic's lousy, but if you can make out the green stuff on the main branches, that's all mistletoe.

FWIW, I contacted the arborist today to get his objective opinion, if it was up to him. Basically he said he'd remove the Cedar Elm and clean up and keep the Post Oak.

Still torn... While I hate to remove any decent sized tree, I'm trying to look long term what's best...

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 11:47PM
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bostedo(8a tx-bp-dfw)

Starting a couple (or more) seeds/seedlings at the base of the trees is another option to consider, especially if you want trees back in nearly the same locations. Even planted inches from the base, they can get to be 6 to 8 foot trees before the older tree will have to be removed several years down the road. A good arborist should be able to preserve the best one while taking out the old tree and spare(s), though of course there's always some risk of it being damaged or destroyed. The benefit is that as a well established plant, it'll tend to grow much faster in the near term than any container tree used as a replacement. Squirrels start new oaks like this all the time around certain trees in our neighborhood, so it's a very natural process.

Hate to see the mistletoe in the large branches of your cedar elm; this parasite can substantially weaken wood. Getting rid of it once established in large branches requires something like wrapping the limbs in black poly for a year or two. Would plan on removing the tree if you're not prepared to mess with this. Not likely an immediate concern, but will eventually become a hazard if the mistletoe is left to flourish in the main limbs.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 11:32AM
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Just to follow up, I decided to bid farewell to both trees.

As it turns out, the Post Oak was starting to hollow and rot on the inside. That definitely has me feeling better about my decision!

Now to find some replacements...

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 11:34PM
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