Dead Wood

oceans

Well-Known Member
Does anyone recall Bob Wulkowitz's posts about girdling limbs to treat DED in Elms?

I'm thinking it relates...by telling the tree to let the limb go (without removing it), tylosis is initiated? My understanding was that the walls began to form while the limb was still in place, unless not ALL walls form.
 

Redtree

Active Member
What kind of silvicultural studies would you recommend?
Just ran across this
Deadwooding: Which, Where, why?

Dead branches are traditionally removed from trees to lessen decay moving into the parent branch or stem, improve air movement, increase stability by lessening load, ease access for climbers and some wildlife, and lessen risk and litter nuisance, among other reasons. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but most clients, as well as most arborists, seem to enjoy the view of the living tree’s architecture more after the dead parts are removed. However, dead branches can also contain value to the tree, when they provide benefits such as:


Resource translocation. Some recently dead limbs may still have ‘juice’ stored inside, containing stored resources that are still traveling downward. (These resources are a reason that some object to the term “deadwood”.) Large branch removal can be done in stages to allow for this movement, which can also result in a protection zone being formed at the final cut.

Support. Dead branches in dense evergreens may be holding up neighboring branches above. This support can prevent breakage as it increases sunlight to and air flow around living branches.

Habitat. In trees that compartmentalize well and have no major disease concerns, dead branches are retained because some organisms find niches in branches that are not in stems. Or on branches: spiderwebbing between twigs can catch aphids and other plant pests. Also, dead branches that protrude from the crown provide perches for raptors and other valuable birds.

Damping. Weight in the middle of limbs in trees can absorb load and improve stability.
References
1. Gibbons, P. and D. Lindenmayer. “Tree Hollows and Wildlife Conservation in Australia; CSIRO (2002).
3. Geytenbeek, Richard. Arbury Park Outdoor School: pers comm.

✦ Franks, A. and S. Franks. “Nest boxes for wildlife - A practical guide.” Bloomings Books (2003).

✦ Gould Group. “The Nestbox Book.“ Wilkinson Publishing (1997).

✦ Birds Australia: http://www.birdsaustralia.com.au/resources/info-sheets.html; Info Sheet numbers 9 & 10.

fauNature website: www.faunature.com.au

✦ Backyard Wildlifers: www.backyardwildlifers.com.au
Great reference Guy
to add to resource translocation I'd like to say:
Small deadwood rarely causes major fungal infection. so left on it will still provide. If it falls to the ground naturally it ends up in garden or grass through the mulching mower as opposed to through the chipper. From there it can supply to roots. Or when it rains a small amount of leaching through deadwood and grub poo might act like a very freshly delivered compost tea. Especially when passing through hollows or areas of decay not really categorized as deadwood. And likely running down the trunk right to a key uptake area at the base. I heard that once that the tissues at the flare are excellent at uptake. Is that true? I realize the root plate extends past the drip line. Just curious. And also I realize the tea effect may be very minuscule. Im picturing it being more relavent in heavily decayed trees as a benefit coming out of otherwise a defecit. But I don't know. Mostly just wanted to repost Guys reference.
 

knothead

Active Member
Great reference Guy
to add to resource translocation I'd like to say:
Small deadwood rarely causes major fungal infection. so left on it will still provide. If it falls to the ground naturally it ends up in garden or grass through the mulching mower as opposed to through the chipper. From there it can supply to roots. Or when it rains a small amount of leaching through deadwood and grub poo might act like a very freshly delivered compost tea. Especially when passing through hollows or areas of decay not really categorized as deadwood. And likely running down the trunk right to a key uptake area at the base. I heard that once that the tissues at the flare are excellent at uptake. Is that true? I realize the root plate extends past the drip line. Just curious. And also I realize the tea effect may be very minuscule. Im picturing it being more relavent in heavily decayed trees as a benefit coming out of otherwise a defecit. But I don't know. Mostly just wanted to repost Guys reference.
This is just an excellent thread started back in 2008!
 
Removal of deadwood is so often "pushed" by tree care companies as being of benefit to trees to the point that it has become part of the urban mythology of trees. We get that question more than I care to admit. The answer, IMO, is really a depends as stated earlier. The vast majority of deadwood removal is for aesthetic reasons, I don't think that can be argued. Hazard reduction is a smaller part of this as well, although most larger dangerous deadwood would be about 2 inches or greater in diameter. Some limited reasons for removal of deadwood might include removal of diseased wood with active spores. Most decay causing fungi live and reproduce on dead wood, not live wood so that point may be mute. Deadwood removal might also increase air movement within the canopy which can reduce some issues such as powdery mildew or other active fungi of live plant tissues but that would have to excessive dense deadwood. I also agree with increased light penetration with can help reduce excessive moisture within the tree in densely branched species. I think the bottom line is that we need to meet our clients needs and wishes, to increase their perceived benefits of trees within what we understand about trees and their responses without overselling or making up things. Bottom line is selling deadwood removal as healthy might be going out on a limb, being honest with your clients has served us well in the last 20 years. There is nothing wrong with saying we really don't have any scientific studies that prove this to be the case. There are a lot of other reasons to prune besides deadwooding, and most trees with deadwood would probably benefit from those other reasons.
 

KevinS

Well-Known Member
I think yes and no.
Trees are very often fine on there own with deadwood in them not a big deal but it often becomes an issue for infrastructure sidewalks, playgrounds, etc or an estetics problem people wantva clean look to there yard.

As far as the tree goes deadwooding and general crown cleaning of apples, pears etc I find gives you a nicer crop less ice breakage, etc

So while it's often fine as is sometime deadwooding helps I think. Also urban trees aren't forest trees they're often planted for decor so they want there decor not to look ratty and half dead.
So yes and no is where I stand
 
We should also consider the role of that wood after it dies. In the forest, like moss said, dead wood is a home to creatures. But when it falls from the tree it becomes mulch and becomes part of a never ending cycle that keeps the soil rich.

If we deadwood a tree and haul the wood away, we break that cycle.

love
nick
Good point here, I think we're too used to looking for a more definite answer to help us settle an issue, however nature has its own way of dealing with this problem nature directly benefits but understandably there are times when you need to intervene, but I think it should be as little as possible.
 

guymayor

Well-Known Member
And that's just what the German standard says, for health and safety. I also deadwood for aesthetics when it fits the objective, and on a tree that's dying back it helps to deadwood so yuou can see if it dies back any more.
 
Nice post!!!!

An urban tree is not at home. It suffers from day one. That is why we ,the arborist, exist. The woodland / forest tree is at home. It doesn't need our help and ANYTHING we do to it is harm/ stress.

urban tree = human on life support.

image.jpeg

... And eventually Mother Nature takes them out of their misery.
 
Imo..... There is only one reason to remove Deadwood and that is to reduce risk of damage to person or property. And to go One Step Beyond I would say your first option should be to move the target if possible and reduce risks prior to having to do tree work. Yes I could earn a sale by pushing Deadwood, but I earn a client if I save her an expense. The beauty of explaining the benefit of a paid consultation vs a sales visit (free estimate)
 

Redtree

Active Member
I agree with you to some degree Baumeister , two things though. There is one other not so common benefit of removing deadwood. When reduction is the plan to reduce risk then removing deadwood at the top of a tree can help reduce leverage. Recently I reduced an woodlot edge oak leaning over parking. 2-4 inch dead and 1-4 inch live wood. The dead weighing in probably heavier due to to decline and the 'please reduce me' language of the tree. This leads right into point number two. You can help a forest tree. But there is rarely a need for it. Or is there. I've done two white pines both in the 90 foot range. Both general reduction. One for the purpose of avoiding removal so seed can fall into an area almost free of white pine. The other to reduce height of a tree with a structural constraint and ability to fall so far. In all three cases the objective is human safety. In all three cases the side effect is that the trees are less likely to fail, improving safety and longevity for the tree. In two of the three cases the trees will likely be reduced again after they are given time to react. Retrenchment. Reduction or subordination is more for the purpose of slowing the rate of the tree getting bigger, particularly wider but also taller. Retrenchment is for decay. Subordination/reduction is for growth problems and codominants that don't have decay. Please please limit these trees to 4" cut diameters. Too often I see fix it now retrenchment like solutions applied to structurally messy trees Maples and many others here do not do well with this type of '10 year cycle' heavy dose, especially in the urban setting. Even if your not back for ten, limit cuts to 2-4". Then come back sooner, say 5-7 years depending. For crying out loud increase the dose by increasing the application frequency not the application weight. Time is on your side.
And if a homeowner hates their 'ugly' locust then cut out all the deadwood down to a half inch or less. and suggest pulling the turf back around the trunk and replace with THIN layer of mulch. One inch of green leafy chips on the bottom and an inch of deadwood chippings on top. A salad for the tree to enjoy. Put the rest of the chips in the forest or garden and drive home empty. Hey another way to improve a forest and your carbon footprint. Especially a young sandy forest with a thin organic layer.
Lastly. There are many many beautiful, established, full sized urban trees, but yes as we remove soil from our cities we plant trees in coffins. Some cities are improving this even if just slightly. First we need to get public demand for urban trees up. Otherwise developers and governments will do what they do best. Develop and collect taxes. Progress I believe it's called. And if trees don't fit into the picture, then why can't we plant and maintain vines more often in the urban setting. I know what a mess. But how hard could it be to prune two dimensional structures. And hardly a twig of deadwood to argue about. At least the 2D textbook would finally run parallel. 2D textbooks for vigorous neglected 3D large trees are limited however often also effective if understood. I know this is a long post. Whatever. Baumeister is generally right don't want to fight but I just thought I'd point out some specifics. It takes a lot of time to write it and time to read it. Thanks for reading.

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Redtree

Active Member
What? Can you rephrase that? If you read it in a book is it true? Sorry Marllene, you are right sometimes. It's another generalization gone wrong in arboriculture. So it's not a rule. Not a good one anyway. It might be accurate for more than half the species in the world but probably less than half of the species local to me. Old trees that die generally die from the failure of large green wood including the heartwood. Not from the lack of cutting of 2-5 inch deadwood. Perhaps removal of deadwood over four inches benefits the tree. In some species could it actually be a step backwards? So there is two variables, species and diameter of the deadwood that debunk that generalization that may just really be an average at best. Meaning it's maybe right most of the time. And lastly. Perhaps removal of dead wood does help water uptake. But only if you leave it on top of the root plate to build the water capacity of the soil. The worst thing about deadwooding is removing it from the nutrient cycle.


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guymayor

Well-Known Member
Henry Davis III: "Remove dead lower branches only for safety or sanitation.", echoing the German standard. That's as definite an answer as we can get; still "...it depends...", but somewhat defined.
 

Redtree

Active Member
Good general definition Guy. But I almost see it as: Remove low deadwood for aesthetics and deadwood throughout over 1.5 inch diameter for safety. Over 2" for lighter wooded trees. I have to wonder in that definition you gave could you just switch out sanitation for aesthetics. Not that aesthetics isn't important. I'm just curious how this sanitation fits. I suppose to a large degree the lower larger deadwood removal could eliminate or decrease decay fungi opportunity, therefore extending the lifespan of the tree. Another detail; deadwood that is high up can be more dangerous than lower deadwood so that detail could definitely change Henry Davis's definition. Right? Actually like removing rubbing branches and other rules, we need limits of size in the definition. Or the suggestion that limits be specified in a prescription. Remove Rubbing branches under 2". Reduce rubbing branches over 5", retaining the rubbing point or not. It likely becomes more of a contact point as movement is reduced. In between 2" and 5" inch, use your discretion. These diameters may be subject to change between species and where in the world you are.


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guymayor

Well-Known Member
"I almost see it as: Remove low deadwood for aesthetics and deadwood throughout over 1.5 inch diameter for safety. Over 2" for lighter wooded trees. I have to wonder in that definition you gave could you just switch out sanitation for aesthetics. Not that aesthetics isn't important. I'm just curious how this sanitation fits."

Well here in the muggy south (coming soon to a region near you!) we see big dead limbs channeling hypoxylon etc. through the collar and into the parent, sugar sticks creating caries. Rare in Q robur so the Euro folk are adamant about retaining deadwood as a default option.

"I suppose to a large degree the lower larger deadwood removal could eliminate or decrease decay fungi opportunity, therefore extending the lifespan of the tree. Another detail; deadwood that is high up can be more dangerous than lower deadwood..." Only if there are no lower limbs for it to get hung up on, which would be rare.

"Actually like removing rubbing branches and other rules, we need limits of size in the definition. Or the suggestion that limits be specified in a prescription. Remove Rubbing branches under 2". Reduce rubbing branches over 5", retaining the rubbing point or not. It likely becomes more of a contact point as movement is reduced."
But reduction will raise the branch; which moves the contact point. Gotta choose between avoiding contact and embracing/encouraging it.
"In between 2" and 5" inch, use your discretion. These diameters may be subject to change between species and where in the world you are."

I wanted to see wording about grafting, either natural or abetted by scraping and bolting. But that practice is not currently making money for the dominant company so it was a no-go.


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JD3000

Well-Known Member
Last bit is a good point. I see beech limbs fusing/ grafting together quite well whereas on maple it seems to take much longer or not at all.
 
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