Big old dude!


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9-10' Diameter sycamore near a creek. 100' + tall and 125' + wide.
My gold coffee mug is on a root flare for scale.
You can see it has been spray painted and kids nail boards in it to climb up a bit.
Here's the view from the creek. You can see how high the water can get here. More paint.
Lower dead limb. Look how far out the collar wood goes!

Anyway...I'm planning on removing all the amur honeysuckle under it and preserving and augmenting the native understory. Upper canopy looks great.

What to do about the nailed boards? I figure I would cause more harm than good by removing it and I would guess the neighborhood kids would just do it again.

What else? Any other preservation thoughts? It's lived this long without much intervention after all.
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Remove the boards and nails, it will not harm the tree and be better in the long run. Kids lose interest, grow up and move away. They are just a blip in that trees life.
A diverse mix of thorny plants around the base would also do wonders.


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I wonder if you can carefully pry the nails out, and replace with screws in the same holes, which you can back out every year or two.


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I say remove the boards for sure. A ms150 can be great for this just make cuts carefully either side of the nails. If it was kids it could just be some random nails, but not very long. The boards might just pop off with little effort/damage.
If prying the nails don’t forget a small scrap of plywood or the like to use as a pad under the prying tool. This will help to mitigate squished bark


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  1. get the path moved and place some big logs/rocks as obstacles all around cause you know some one will come along and drive all over them roots and flares,
  2. collect all fallen debris and bring it within the dripline,
  3. leave the nails in don't open up wounds to air unless they are small and not deep nails/wounds
  4. plant out the native companion plants
  5. plant more of the same/platanus all around to shelter and support

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Pull the nails

The cambium will close

Leaving them in the tree would be similar to making a stub cut v collar cut

As much as the kid in me would like to see the steps left on the tree I'd pull them. If not you're going to be leaving an 'attractive nuisance'. This wouldnleave you open to liability since the Tree care has come under your control. Ask your insurance company if they'd defend you and all


New Member
Seems the kids love the tree, they know nothing about wounding nor does the tree feel pain. Maybe just clear the honeysuckle and competing plants, the kids will lose interest if there is less of a hideout. In time the boards will rot then snip the nail heads off close to the trunk.


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@JD3000; Thanks for posting the photos. That is the biggest, gnarliest looking sycamore I've ever seen. I've not seen examples that have branches so low to the ground, either, so that is cool.


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I've seen quite a few that are taller, but never with this wide of a trunk.

Turns out the national champion sycamore is up near Ashland and it's a true beast. However, it has multiple trunks so it's kind of different.


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Sweet! how about do all the above, but replace the honey suckle with poison ivy.. It would keep the kids at bay for sure!


Active Member
No no no, can't dig a snake pit without disturbing the root system, you gotta do one of those log swing style traps. Put the trip wire so it triggers when the little rat bastards (the kids) weight the first rung and the log comes hurling down launching them away from the area.


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Last I heard they decided that national champion tree wasn't because it wasn't right to pull the tape around all of the trunks as if they were 1 to get circumference.