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You Don’t Know Where Your Going Until You Know Where You Have Been

Case History Number 2
Events 2014/15 Published Feb 2016

In the Winter of 2014, the Charlotte city arborist contacted me about the fact that they were planning to remove three trees directly across the street from my home on Queens Road West.  Two of these trees were in rough shape, but the other very large willow oak with a magnificent spread looked to me like a healthy tree from a distance.  I talked to the city arborist and said that it looked pretty good even though it had been struck by several vehicles over the years.  I asked if he would mind me getting a second opinion about the tree and he agreed. 

He also stipulated that he would be the final call on whether or not it should be removed.  I respected that because that was his job, and I did not want to make a very difficult job (his) any harder than it already was.  The city arborist is responsible for 180,000 street trees and the budget is way to small for the amount of work required.

I contacted Patrick Anderson at who I knew from past years before I retired in 2007.  One of the fairly new scientific developments in the Tree Care Industry has been a machine called a Resistograph.  This device has a small probe that can read the amount of decay inside a tree trunk by the density of the wood.  More or less as the wood starts to decay, it is more porus.  Patrick was experienced with the use of the Resistograph and I had seen some of the reports that he had written about specific trees. As this machine is being operated, it prints out a graph that show the probability of decay at each entry point  The protocal for using a Resistograph is not something one learns overnight.  I suspect that there are several several other companies that have a Resistograph. 

The Photo below shows Patrick using the Resistograph.


Here is what the trunk looked like inside.  I have never seen a formation like this pretrude from the middle of the trunk. Also note the brown and grey colors closest to the hollow part in the center.  Some of this is advanced decay and as you go further out to the perimiter there is more “white” wood which growing pretty well.