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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Default Tall oak trees

    I have one very tall oak tree growing fairly close to my house.Twice now huge limbs have broken from the top and fallen on to my roof.I am going to have the tree trimmed to shorten.Question when the limbs are cut,should they be cut on an angle and should the ends be coated with something to prevent rot.I would prefer not to remove the entire tree.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Tall oak trees

    I assume you are having an arborist do the work. They will know how to cut the branches. Never coat the cut ends, it will promote rot. Listen to an arborist's opinion about what and how to trim. Also in Md. many oaks are being hit with a disease that gradually kills large mature trees. If that's the case, cut it down.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tall oak trees

    Find out first what's wrong with your tree and why are those big branches breaking off.

    I hope that the tree is healthy, just needs some trimming and TLC, because I like oak trees

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Northern Virginia
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    Default Re: Tall oak trees

    Quote Originally Posted by ed21 View Post
    I assume you are having an arborist do the work. They will know how to cut the branches. Never coat the cut ends, it will promote rot.
    An arborist seldom (or never) do the actual trimming. A crew is sent over with a work order (in California & in the DC area, it will likely be latino), and if you're lucky, the work order is complete & descriptive and the crew is experienced.

    If someone has to use a ladder or climb, it will about twice the price of trimming from the ground. If they bring in machinery, the project will have to be at least $1,000 +.

    When I see broken limbs, the tree is either a bit sickly, or in more cases, the tree is overgrown. Many of my landscape trees were left overgrown by the previous owner for years, and I spent $3,000 this year getting them to a more healthy size/length. In a healthy size & length, branches should handle snow and rain without breaking.

    I think limbs are cut at a slight vertical angle so water doesn't accumulate at the cut, and about 1 inch from the trunk so the tree no longer considers them a limb. If cut more than 3-4 inches away, the snub will just rot. Arborists say a "wound" doesn't need a seal but you'll find black spray sealer at Home Depot anyway ("seals wounds so they heal.").

    I have one wild tree, 3 stories high, just on my neighbor's property line that is covered with Ivy. My wife knew right away the Ivy will strangle the tree over time, and it may fall on our house. She cut off the Ivy and let it brown out, but will have to do that at least once a year as Ivy is pernicous. Lesson, you shouldn't let anything else grow around the base of the tree -- it can kill your tree or make it less healthy. With grass at the base, the tree shade and the energy sucked by the tree will make the grass grow patchy.

  5. #5
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Tall oak trees

    Quote Originally Posted by Brookworld View Post
    An arborist seldom (or never) do the actual trimming. A crew is sent over with a work order (in California & in the DC area, it will likely be latino), and if you're lucky, the work order is complete & descriptive and the crew is experienced.
    I guess you get what you pay for. A licensed arborist should be associated with the company whether he does the climbing or not and an experienced crew to do the work. For a large oak next to my house, I would be sure the company is experienced, insured, etc. and not use a couple of guys with chainsaws and a pickup. Bartlet Tree Experts is a national company I believe. There are others. No matter what the HD sells and what the can says, why would you go against the advise of a professional.
    PS. I've seen too many large trees come down on houses to be comfortable having them near mine anymore. At least I can burn the firewood.
    Last edited by ed21; 10-13-2011 at 10:09 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Elyria, Oh.
    Posts
    236

    Default Re: Tall oak trees

    Each limb has a "collar". It is a slightly enlarged area where the limb meets the trunk of the tree. Cut just outside the "collar" without damaging the collar itself. The tree will then self heal the area with the collar growing over the cut. Do not seal the cut with anything. That practice was discontinued around 30 years ago. When the tree company shows up demonstrate what you want done as most tree trimmers are not arborists with a college degree. Then supervise the tree trimmers as they work. Depending on the height you may need binoculars to check their work. You are paying for it so make sure it is done right.
    Last edited by CaptTCB; 10-15-2011 at 02:50 AM. Reason: typos

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Houston Texas
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    Default Re: Tall oak trees

    Having a degree in landscape horticulture and managed a 60 man tree company I can tell you a few tree facts;

    1- Trees take routine maintenance which in you case can be a few thousand dollars a year. The maintenance is designed to keep those branches from falling. Any dead, diseased or damaged wood should be removed on a regular basis. If you are not up for the annual expense, cut the tree down. Trees naturally drop limbs. Look at any forest floor. Maintenance will help prevent falling limbs.

    2- Topping a tree (as I think you suggest) isn't a great idea. You'll be destroying the natural structure of the tree and cause more problems. There is no good way to "shorten" an oak.

    3- A good arborist will be able to thin your tree. By removing some of the whole branches, the wind will slowly pass through the tree instead of the tree acting as one huge sail in the wind. DO NOT have them remove all the smaller branches and leave only green at the ends. That practice (common in Houston) makes it much more likely for winds to snap a branch off a tree as all the stress is at the ends of the limbs.

    4- Get a recommendation from your local horticultural society or County Extension Service.

    5- When you contract with your arborist, be sure to tell them you want the actual arborist there on site 100% of the time the work is done. Usually this costs a little more as much of tree work being done is routine limb removal for power lines and damaged limbs so they don't need to be on every jobsite. Make sure they are there for yours.

    6- A tall oak isn't anything to be afraid of. There are trees with much weaker wooded such as; pines, sycamores, pecans.... that are far more likely to break when they are older. You've got the best as far as our climate has to offer.

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