Thread: Help! Need opinions quickly!

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  1. #1

    Help! Need opinions quickly!

    I have a large Water Oak in my back yard. It is the only tree back there and is probably 50 or so years old. It has a lot of dead limbs on 1/2 of the tree and the other half of the tree looks decent. The trunk has spots where the wood is rotting. The half of the tree that looks dead has a split limb, a lot of "die back" and "fuzz" all over the limbs. My husband and I are very torn over whether to cut this tree down. I have had about 6 people come look at it to give their being a certified arborist. The arborist said to take it down as did most of the other tree people. Some said that it may have a chance though if the dead was cut off and it had liquid fertilization. I don't know what to do. I am going to put some pictures on here and hope that I can get some good feedback that will help with our decision. We are going to be putting a storage shed between the fence and tree which is partly why we need to decide quickly...and I have scheduled someone to come out and take it down on Thursday. Please HELP!!
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Northern Minnesota-zone 3

    RE: Help! Need opinions quickly!

    It's a tough decision, and it won't be easy either way.

    I'd personally try to save it, but that's because I hate cutting trees down

    The tree does seem to be declining, and it would require some serious help to get it back up and healthy again. You might be better off having it cut out and planting a new tree. I'd recommend getting a good sized tree to replace it. Spending a few hundred dollars to get a nice young tree will give you some shade right away and you can keep the tree healthy from the start, which is much cheaper than what you'd spend reviving this poor water oak.

    Let us know what you decide, though!

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Oak Quirky Quercus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    RE: Help! Need opinions quickly!

    It's not an especially appealing tree is it? Doesn't seem to offer you any shade and the form is not that pleasing. I'd go with the advice of the arborist. It sounds like it would be too costly and would it be worth it even if it did survive?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Central Indiana

    RE: Help! Need opinions quickly!

    Hard as it is to even think about it, I agree that removing this particular tree is the way to go. Depending on where you live, I'd replace it with a fast-growing oak (red oak or Shumard Oak if it were me) of good size. Snowguy is right: spending the hundreds of dollars on a new tree is a better way to go than putting the money into saving a tree in decline. If you in as big a tree as you can, you'll soon have shade and a better tree.

    Poor water oak . . . but reality trumps emotion on this one.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Eastern PA

    RE: Help! Need opinions quickly!

    I would go with the arborists opinion.

    I'd really worry about the one who wants you to dose the tree up with liquid fertilizer - that's likely to 1) cost money; 2) not help; and 3) possibly do further damage to the tree.

    Green Man Enviroscaping LLC

  6. #6

    RE: Help! Need opinions quickly!

    Thank you all for your replies. It looks like the best thing to do is to take it down. It still makes me sad though and I am dreading seeing it done on Thursday...but it seems as though even if cutting the dead off and fertilizing helped some, it would still need to be taken out in a couple of years anyways. Ughh...why can't they live forever?

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Oak Quirky Quercus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    RE: Help! Need opinions quickly!

    See if your arborist will help you out by checking to see if they can get a good deal on a larger shumard or similar oak... maybe 3 or 4" caliper. It will be like never losing your old friend and provide shade from day one and be about 25' tall or more even.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Central Oklahoma - Zone 7 for now

    RE: Help! Need opinions quickly!

    Yep, take it down. Its as if it belongs in a 'spooky' house's yard

    Whoever said to cut off dead-wood and add (liquid?)fert sure does not know what the deal is!! *Only* add fert if you *know* it needs it. Period Not to be rude, but when a person say 'liquid', its obvious that someone isn't fully up-to-speed on trees as its not if its liquid or powder or whatever. Its the contents of that fert - and a tree that is 1/2 dead is *not* suffering from lack of nutrition; its something *else*, I promise

    And do you have any idea *why* that Oak died such an early death? Blight? Bugs? You might want to answer *that* question before placing another Oak there...or else you just might be doing another 'takedown' soon (right??)

    Buying a 'larger' tree will not necessarily give you faster shade over a 10-15yr period (give or take)...the smaller ones get better roots much faster, do not have to 'heal' so much post-planting, and a smaller one will be much, MUCH hardier several years later Its proven that is how it enjoy whatever you get (but saving $ will be another selling point, 'eh?!) There's LOTS of trees that grow much faster than Oaks, but everything is a give & take on characteristics

    It stinks you are losing that tree, but its great they are so easily replaced. You just have to invest 'time' as there's no such thing as a *healthy* 'instant' tree. A large tree transplanted will need guidewires/posts/etc and do you want *that* for a few years?

    There's always the option of cutting it to a tallish stump (certain type cuts, etc), and seeing what regrowth you get if its *not* diseased...just might get a nice smaller tree like that if you are attentive/knowledgeable about what to do and when I have 'redone' a few trees like that (kinda bonsai-ish in concept) and it was fun, and the trees all grew into shorter, but proportionally-even trees. I even am working with some winged elms in my backyard that were too big for where they were, so I chopped 'em to get thick tapered-stump shorter trees. You may not want that in your backyard, though - I am doing my 'chops' intentionally to several diff species for a garden that makes you feel huge (hopefully - see me in a dozen years, LOL!)


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