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What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Their Aging Trees

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

                                   Hurricane Florence
                                     September 16-18 2018
We were lucky, in that we had winds of around 45 mph at times, and 6.5 inches of rain.  I also got my generator back from the repair shop late the afternoon a day before the storm struck. This was important because my basement floods and it is a real mess and expense to clean up.  I learned a lot about generators that in hind sight is amusing and also a lesson. More on My Generator here.

The tree below was one of several that fell on Queens Road West.  It did a lot of damage to the next door home.  There is a very large blue tarp over the entire roof now. October 7th.
Photo # 1

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So why did this tree fall. I took several photos and even a close up or two of the root system under ground.  One obvious root just crumbled when I grabbed a handfull of the rotten wood.
Photo # 2 below  img_4050

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Photo # 3    Handfull of rotten wood taken from same willow oak root ball as above.

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What is even more disturbing is the close up which I took from a different angle.

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Note olive green roots,.. these are roots with the bark still attached but the punky wood inside is rotten and not supporting the tree at all.

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Joe Cadieu’s ( Cadieu Tree Service ) crane guys removing this tree from a house on Queens Road West

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Same Tree on Queens Road West

 

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Below  Queens Road West and Radcliffe Avenue

This willow oak came down during Florence two houses up from where I live.  I believe I saw mushrooms at the base of this tree recently.  Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies, and they are an indicator that rot has been going on for some time.  The city was pretty busy and the road was made passable pretty quickly, but the stump and part of the tree and the uprooted sidewalk stayed that way for a month or more.  I believe there was a critical electric box of some sort at the base of the tree and it took some time to coordinate all that was involved.

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Below is the same willow oak with the bulk of the tree hauled away.  Sorry for the out of focus photo.

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For me this is a fairly important picture.  It is obvious that the sidewalk was partly up kept this tree standing upright.  Note the blackened wood and the lighter yellow wood near by.  At the lower left hand corner you can see a limb with yellow tape wrapped around it.  This appears to be live wood and yellowish wood in the middle which is probably decayed.  I think there are probably several rot causing organisms at work here.  It would be good to get bark samples right after one of the events and get some identification of the various organisms.  It really should not be hard to find samples because trees are falling very frequently in Charlotte. 

A healthy willow oak can live to be 150 to 200 years old,  Street trees live somewhat less than 100, I would say 75 years could be the life expectancy with the constraints caused by the roots not having enough room in really grow because of curbs, compaction, available oxygen and water... add air pollution, breaks in the bark caused by  automobiles, lawn mowers, and many other factors.  I was on Granville Road yesterday (updated September 10, 2019) and measured the planting strip width at 15 feet.  That was a surprise as on Queens Road West there is a 13 foot planting strip.  Still those trees are lucky because many streets only have a planting strip of a couple of feet.

Below take a look at the slab of concrete which was partly keeping the tree standing.

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Below, is more of the same tree and Cement slab..

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Last Photo of cement slab and exposed roots.  When a tree falls and pancakes to the ground it usually means there are no supporting roots left to hold it up.  We refer this as a straight line uprooting.  (in time I will link this to other Straight line uprootings and what causes them.).

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Dilworth Neighborhood Below

Ideal Way pancaked on to the ground ... more later.  Later is here 2020 4-21.  I was driving in the Dilworth neighborhood and saw this tree which had fallen the day before.  The owner of the home was outside, and I stopped to get some photos and hopefully talk to the lady.  She explained that she had talked to the city a number of times and that someone came out and examined the tree and used some type of electronic equipment to test the tree and said the tree was ok.  It was just a few days after that when the willow oak fell.

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Acorns from White oak on Selwyn Avenue.

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y 1200 charleston