Dead Wood

Knotahippie

New Member
That's an informative bit of work there John. I didn't realise that you were a tree legend (highly respected round' these parts).

I saw your avatar and thought you were sittin' at the bar with your girlfriend instead of workin' at the lab!

It's cool to get responses from educated folks.

The first post is entitled "dead Wood" and the author is wondering is there ANY health issues with "deadwooding".

The only thing that I could come up with was the cracking at wall 4 from callus formation rolling/curling in on itself (very common). A resin filled branch stub will prevent this. "This is more of a personal observation than research".

Which sounds worse? Cut the stub and possibly add a structural flaw (longitudinal/circumferential cracks)in addition to compartmentalized decay? Or leave the stub and let a protruding calus that forms with no cracks?

Either way you callus over the decay.

I actually got my info. about the conifer stubs from the Shigo Tree Bio book (I think!), it's been a few years since I read it, and have since given it away to aspiring legends. I really need to get another copy!

I must say, this rare case of stubs preventing cracks is more of a personal observation than research on my part, and because of this, I make all cuts using NTP.

The main thing that I'm starting to wonder about, is callus forming ahead of schedule (especially in conifers)? I don't know if this is possible, but I do know that it takes a large amount of LOCAL reserve energy to form callus in general. Could the tree be "waiting" to use this food? Is there a natural time frame for this? especially in conifers that leave resin filled stubs for decades?

Callus formation does not indicate a healthy cut, flush cuts callus quicker than most other cuts, but are not good for the tree (shigo)...and thats why The industry quit promoting this tech.

My main concern is with cracks associated with wall 4. could Rapid callus formation in conifers (by cutting a sizeable stub) increase the incidents of cracks/ringshakes in conifers?

Could these uncut stubs harbor more bacteria longer at collar/ridge which may be preferable to fungus growth which destroys cellulose?(Shigo, ring shakes lit.) "This is more of a personal observation/question than research".


Many times I've cut symplastless (thanks for joggin' my memory) stubs to find solid, lignfied wood with small sections of live wood interspersed. Spread of decay is greatest thru wall 1 and I've seen many more cankers/decay/cracking issues in "pruned deadwood" than stubs left alone...even in conifers.

We know from research that cracks at wall 4 (especially rams horns) are a big problem for conifers (shigo), can we be making things worse in the urban forest?

Seems to me, a healthy tree can keep itself healthy.
If a tree is in trouble it seems like opening up wall 1(even in symplastless wood) to a fungal spread could be backward. It almost looks like a protruding callus could constrict, making wall 1 more effective in resisting decay into the stem.

As for now, when I'm on a job, I make the customer happy and educate them so they can make balanced choices...but I dont use generally use my own personal theories when pruning, I rely on research.

Not to mention, aestheticaly...it just don't look right.

Not to mention, what do we have left? just about every traditional tree care tech.(for health, not aesthetics) has been disproven by research in the last 20yrs!This is a brand new industry all of a sudden, and alot of trad. tree dudes are having trouble keeping up.

Like I said before, "Theese are more of observation/questions than research".

Dead Wood? As far as tree health, it may just be a matter of time?
 

mdvaden

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Great thread...I would have commented sooner but I have been up in the N.Cascades hiking and looking at 1000-1500+ year old trees (larch and white bark pine)...that have never had any "help" from humans.

As has Tom I have looked for some good research on this subject without success. IMO we prune to much and too often for the most part.

As John Britton once said "tree pruning is for people, not for trees".


Scott Baker

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The forest is where I spend a lot of my time too.

One thing I realize when I go out in the woods where trees don't get pruned, is that I'm not just looking at 100 year old trees, or 1000 year old trees. What I'm looking at is 100 or 1000 year old trees that happen to remain standing, not the ones that died and decomposed.

Pruning is sort of for people though, when we think about it.
 

treeb

New Member
Which sounds worse? Cut the stub and possibly add a structural flaw (longitudinal/circumferential cracks)in addition to compartmentalized decay? Or leave the stub and let a protruding calus that forms with no cracks?


If I remeber correctly I beleive Shigo says that cracks for when improper cuts are made i.e. flush cuts
 

roxy

Active Member
I think, lucky for us, trees in the city are expected to be manicured...and that some people prefer to look at a "clean" tree. We've got a client who doesn't let us take all the deadwood out of her oaks...we have to leave a certain number in a specific size range for the woodpeckers. Hey, so we are all connected.
 

Blinky

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Which sounds worse? Cut the stub and possibly add a structural flaw (longitudinal/circumferential cracks)in addition to compartmentalized decay? Or leave the stub and let a protruding calus that forms with no cracks?


If I remeber correctly I beleive Shigo says that cracks for when improper cuts are made i.e. flush cuts

[/ QUOTE ]

Shigo said don't do either... the cut has to be juuuust right.
 

JesseHuffman

Active Member
Shigo was right. When I work for Rocks and Trees, He looks at my cuts from the ground with binoculars. Its alot of pressure. He only allows me to be off .00008 millimeters either way. Needless to say, the trees look fantastic!
 

tomthetreeman

Well-Known Member
"The original question of does removing deadwood enhance the health of the tree, I personally think is a no-brainer. Of course, it does. There are many saprophytic fungi that can become opportunistic. Many organisms enter live wood from dead wood. So if you are talking about the health of the tree, this alone is a given; remove the deadwood. It doesn't help the birds, it doesn't contribute to the balance of natural cycling. It does relieve the stress on the tree. And that was the original question: is this beneficial to the tree."

The original post asked this question, but was also looking for published material to prove it. I can't supply any links to published info at this moment, but I do very much agree with the above quote in regards to sanitizing. Deadwood can harbor insects and pathogens that can be detrimental to a tree's health. Can deadwood also harbor beneficial organisms? Of course. But IMO, removing deadwood is a tree preservation practice, which in itself can be an unnatural act. As arborists/tree care professionals, that is what we are selling (I hope). Improving the long term health and value of our clients investments (trees). Right?

-Tom
 

guymayor

Well-Known Member
Related to this; from an English friend:

We are drawn to intervene with trees for a variety of reasons. Typically though, safety and amenity have been the main drivers in our western culture (amenity usually driven by shifting notions of visual landscape aesthetics – balance, light and form). From the point of view of conservation arboriculture the driver is the tree (as host to its colonisers); its longevity and continued existence is its focus for a number of reasons, though some, I suspect, you are not convinced about. Nonetheless, tree management form a conservation arboriculture standpoint is based on the precautionary principle, i.e. a reasonable calculation of the risk of causing harm is sufficient before proportionate measures are taken to control such risks, so full scientific certainty is not necessary that we may be causing harm (Rio Summit).

On this basis and in light of research about ecological continuity (1,700 different species of invertebrates whose lifestyles depend on British saproxylic habitat; their continued existence depends on veteran trees and their habitat in all their contexts). A key conservation arboriculture objective is therefore that there should be ‘no avoidable loss of veteran and ancient trees’. Given that mature trees are the veteran and ancients of tomorrow, this objective extends to the management of the younger, mature cohort (important also for its contribution to ecosystem services, including urban climate control).



By ‘decline’, if you mean before the tree begins to retrench, then no; unless carried out for scientific reasons, I can’t see why one would want to induce or mimic retrenching for its own sake. However we typically find ourselves professionally drawn to intervene with trees when this is not in their interests; for economic, safety and cultural reasons, prompted by some anthropocentric requirement (management for risk control or visual amenity). Professionally we are often drawn to intervene to mitigate decline, perhaps indicated by stress or disease symptoms (though I suspect we may differ in our definitions).



When is intervention appropriate? This would depend on the objectives of the client, also hopefully informed by the CA professionals’ expertise and advice. Intervention needs to consider time and priority, (if it is necessary at all, if so, how soon and how long can it reasonably be put off?), whether any intervention with the above ground tree / parts can be avoided (can intervention relating to health or stress remediation be confined to the root-soil system, mitigating rhyzosphere condition, again when and how long and how little).



A key aspect of the conservation arboriculture philosophy is to look at natural processes, try to understand these to inform remediation practices through, where feasible mimicry. Another is to look at the soil ecosystem. In doing so we are likely to avoid above ground intervention with a view to restoring optimal natural functioning of the root-soil environment (improving drainage and bulk density quality, humic quality, micro-organism abundance and balance, worm activity, electric conductivity etc) wherever feasible, by natural means before attempting pruning and crown management.



I know that trees are resilient. After all they grow in urban soils (for want of another term) and in heavily nitrified agricultural soils. They can even grow hydroponically Even so, we are charged not to take advantage of their tolerance (as in doing so we will be professionally supporting a process the result of which ends in a spiral of decline).
 

Danavan

New Member
I think trees have been quite happy without our intervention for a very long time before we came on the seen. It is well doc that our intervention is also a benefit to trees for them & us. Some of the work I do allows me to experiment with different pruning methods that I look fwd to looking at the results in yrs to come, this is interesting for tree, fungi, entomology & our place in the whole pic. Dead wood is impotent
to all of us so I feel we need to retain it in some way, high up & on the ground. Our job is to make us all co habit our planet as best we can. My own research tells me that each situation calls for a different response to the trees place near us. Trees are quite happy with their dw management it is us that are not.
 
I've noticed when removing the deadwood in oaks and elms some of the older pieces of deadwood seem to decay well into the trunk.

limb dies, few years later it falls off a few inches from the union. The stub slowly decays this includes the portion of the dead limb inside the trunk. now the tree has a hole/caverty in the trunk.

Now if the dead limb was removed the tree may have been able to seal it before it became a "hole".
but as it was said before compartmentalization and wound closure are seperate things.

Thanks for listening, and feel free to return fire.
 

EdenT

New Member
Great discussion. A lot of focus on disease control. Please excuse my misquote of Dr Shigo, but 'A tree is a system that continues to develop as long as the system is able to put new leaves in new places within the constraints of it's architectural ability to support it.'

The location of dead wood is where it was once advantageous for the tree to have leaves and wood. The wood died for a reason which may or may not include shading out. Removing the dead wood may provide an opportunity for the tree to put new leaves there at a future time. As the tree approaches its finite size opportunities to 'fill' become more important.
 

guymayor

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Removing the dead wood may provide an opportunity for the tree to put new leaves there at a future time. As the tree approaches its finite size opportunities to 'fill' become more important.

[/ QUOTE ]

Absolutely; great point-- when a living branch tip hits a dead stub, electrochemical signals are sent and growth in that direction is hindered.

Also, deadwood removal lets more light to the collar, where dormant buds lie. These buds often release in response to light, so why leave deadwood there to shade and suppress them?
 

guymayor

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Guy that quote was really great, would love to steal it, please tell who it's from...Andrew, David, or Ted?

Sean

[/ QUOTE ]Huh? Wha? Who? I quoted the previous poster, EdenT, whose real name may be Barack Obama for all I know.

Ohhh, if you mean the long quote above, you're 0 for 3. I'll pm that to you since it was unpublished.
 

guymayor

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Shouldn't our work involve a consideration for the whole system.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes.


That is why most dead branches should come off, in most cases.
Perhaps you blinked when reading p 236 of A New Tree Biology:


"Dead wood removal is good for the health of the tree."

6 pages later, the same question, answered again, in the format and source type requested, not from any of us glorified practitioners who screw clients by crown cleaning and post a bunch of anecdotal nonsense about it.



Perhaps now you can find a new dead horse to beat.
 

Attachments

EdenT

New Member
[ QUOTE ]

Dead wood plays an important role in urban ecosystems, and where applicable, it should likely be retained.

Pruning live or dead wood from trees is done for people, not for "tree health". Being an arborist doesn't make someone a scientist, or even expert.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes tree pruning in urban ecosystems is done for people. That's why its called urban, it's where many humans congregate in large numbers and modify their environment to make it safe and aesthetically pleasing for them. Plague carrying rats, cockroaches, and botulism are also part of the urban ecosystem but I don't think you would find too many people staunchly defending their role in society.

It is true that arborists are not scientists (for the most part, but there are exceptions), but they are not the unethical, snake oil merchants you are making them out to be. We call those people names ending with 'er', like lopper, hacker, and a few other 4 letter words which I wont print here. They don't bother furthering their education or try to find out how to 'do it right'.

The purpose of this thread is to consider the benefits of removing dead wood from a tree, for the tree and it's owner.The detritivores and opportunistic parasites are not suffering from habitat loss as their habitat covers about 30% of the earths surface. Most of the mega-fauna you see in urban settings are there because they have found a way to exploit the activity of humans and as such can hardly be considered 'natural'.
 

guymayor

Well-Known Member
Good post, ET.

[ QUOTE ]
...The detritivores and opportunistic parasites are not suffering from habitat loss as their habitat covers about 30% of the earths surface....

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where does 30% number come from? It would be great to have a citation when trying to make that point to the ecologists who wound trees for habitat.

"Scientist" means "A person having expert knowledge of one or more sciences." page 69 of the Dec ArbNews 2 fine researchers wrote: "Partnership (with arbs and foresters)greatly increases effectiveness, ...keeping research focused and efficient."

Field work informs lab work, and vice versa.
 

EdenT

New Member
[ QUOTE ]

where does 30% number come from? It would be great to have a citation when trying to make that point to the ecologists who wound trees for habitat.


[/ QUOTE ]

My apologies Guymayor, I was talking about terrestrial detritivores which is really 31% of the earths surface. Of course if we include aquatic detritivores that figure rises to 100%. Of course the biosphere isn't two dimensional either. The main point is that detritivores don't have too much trouble finding a home.

I think as far as scientists and arborists go the truly great leaps come about when you have a scientist who works in the field such as Alex Shigo. There are plenty of members on this site and others who I consider pioneers in the fields of tree biology, botany, tree access systems, mycology etc and as such "having expert knowledge of one or more sciences."

Thats why I come here - To learn.
 
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