Who Killed this Birch Tree

Discussion in 'Landscape Maintenance' started by mdvaden, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

    I'm pretty sure I know who was responsible for the death of this tree. Will post the photos, and maybe you folks take a guess from what you see.

    The photos should progress from the top of the tree, to near the base. I cut the tree open and took photographs at intervals.

    Again, the later in succession the photo posted, the farther down the tree.

    So, what, who, or how do you think this tree met it's demise?





    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
  2. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

  3. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,009

    The initial thought would be the power company, but than I look further. I see that the concrete looks relatively new -7 years, as does the underground utility work. My guess is that the roots were messed up doing that by most likely the excavation company, causing a large top branch to start to die. Judging by the 3rd pic it looks like it broke or was ripped off and not cut clean, causing the rot in the middle.
  4. baddboygeorge

    baddboygeorge LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,249

    power company topped it then it got infected with ants , from there they got busy!
  5. integrityman

    integrityman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,713

    I would concur. Did you see any large ants crawling out of the tree as it got cut down?
  6. grasshoppers and locusts.
  7. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,944

    You are pretty darn warm in that explanation.

    The second photo was not very big, but probably enough with image one to tell it was topped.

    The width of the decayed areas at intervals on the stem is what caught my eye.

    Look at the width of the decay in the trunk at different points. See what I mean? It sort of tells a story.
  8. capnsac

    capnsac LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 702

    What kind of line/rope do you use around the tree and what do you use to pull it in the desired direction?
  9. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,746

    See this all the time with utility right-of-ways and city utility construction zones. Sometimes even around high maintenance lawns and improper growing conditions.

    1. Root destruction.
    2. Improper pruning-trimming.
    3. Severely reduced oxygen and gas release from the root zones.
    4. Reduced moisture content around the roots.

    Over the years, improper cutting from line crews has left detrimental marks for disease and pest entry. Excessive concrete and asphalt covering the entire CRZ so water and gas/oxygen escape does not exist. The tap root has been slowly depleting thus death and has caused thinning of the crown and twigs. Too much pruning of the lateral limbs has reduced the energy storage. When that tap root dies, insects invade the core and slowly eat away the center. The tree cannot compartmentalize energy reserves. The roots are dying and cannot sustain what is needed to survive.
    I am sure that the utility pole is new from possible vehiclular damage or storm damage. I can only surmise salt damage from the winter's however the other maple tree is not harmed if possible.
  10. Think Green

    Think Green LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,746

    I can see from the trunk slice grafts that the vesicular tissue was completely blocked. The water siphoning ability of the tree was ceased. Root damage and grafting of damaged tissue allowed soil borne fungus to enter the injured sites.
    I did utility work before, and looking at the first picture, there are 3 utilities tied to that one location. A cable vault, a phone ped and underground electrical!
    The root restrictions and one time or multiple uses of boring equipment and construction, the roots of this tree had no chance of survival at all.

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