Should I top this American Holly tree?

Discussion in 'Tree Climbing, Pruning, Felling' started by Mxrider52, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. Mxrider52

    Mxrider52 LawnSite Senior Member
    from TN
    Posts: 298

    Looking for some advice on this holly tree in our yard. I think it is an American Holly. The tree is probably close to 25 foot tall if not taller. It is exceeding the height of the house. My biggest concern for it is becoming too top heavy and splitting. It currently has 2 trunks and they do wrap around each other 1 time but at the top of the tree it appears the trunks are getting heavy and are leaning outward away from each other leaving a open gap between the 2 halves. Like I said I just dont want to lose the tree as it is on the corner of the house and provides some privacy in the windows. Take a look at the pictures and give me some opinions.


  2. RigglePLC

    RigglePLC LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 12,233

    You need a tree guy. (arborist.) He will tell you to drill a hole through each trunk and chain them together so they support each other. Yes there is a good chance the acute angle crotch will split eventually. Strong winds or heavy snow might cause a major split.
  3. Prescott Maintenance

    Prescott Maintenance LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    I would recommend thinning the canopy vs topping the tree. Thinning will reduce the density and thereby weight of the branch structure. A tree service can easily perform this task, just use a good one.
  4. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    This tree is a classic example of the wrong material being planted in the wrong location. Removal I believe is your only option. The split trunk is also another disaster waiting to happen. It is a pity a main leader could not have been established earlier as well as a more practical location.
    easy-lift guy
  5. KrayzKajun

    KrayzKajun LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 10,742

    Removal is not the only option. I had a customer last year with the same issue. A large holly at that, had a great main trunk but at about 15' up it split 3 ways.

    We did some pruning to help the overall health and aesthetics. I was able to run a rod through all three leaders about 20' up and cable them together. Tree has had no issues since.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    Curious how introducing a steel rod into the center of your customers tree in order to cable the customers tree can help in the short or long term?. How do you compensate for the introduction of water into this wound which in all likely hood will develop rot and decay and additional problems.
    The First picture from the OP shows the canopy covered with snow and branches sagging. The tree is obviously to close to the house. The Second picture shows the main trunk with Two Codominant stems clearly in twined around one another and up. I would be very surprised if bark inclusion has not already taken place.
    Bark inclusion involving large branches with included bark can be extremely dangerous.
    The root system for the OP'S tree I believe should be well under the foundation of the home and should be another concern in regards to damage to the foundation and water, sewer lines.

    The OP could choose a reduction of the canopy. This will provide cosmetic solution for future snow accumulations. Over all the tree is and will continue to remain a danger for the OP.
    easy-lift guy
  7. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,297

    That tree is right next to the house. It has weak wood. The trunk or the rootball could cause major damage. That thing need's to come down, completely. I know how attached people can be to a tree. But in this case the potential for damage outweigh's any other feeling's. If the OP did any work on that tree other than complete removal and the tree failed in the future, he could be in court defending his action's and decision's, even if it wasn't the OP's fault.
  8. GQLL

    GQLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 846

    It is in his yard so unless he want to take himself to court I don't see that being a problem. The tree is to close to the foundation and can end up, or it already has, causing foundation problems. They can get into the thousands to fix. I would have the tree removed.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    I agree that the tree should come out along with others that have replied.
    The liability for such a tree for the home owner is when a large branch breaks off and falls on top of someone, especially a guest or contractor on site.
    easy-lift guy
  10. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    Due diligence on the part of the part of the OP could protect his family and material assets in the future.
    easy-lift guy

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