5 May 2010

Tree Advice? (Updated)

Submitted by Paul Brown

(This was originally posted in May, and I am now updating it with some additional photos from the end of the summer)

Holly and I have a tree in our backyard that I am a bit worried about. It is still fairly small, just a bit taller than I am, I think. I'm not sure exactly what kind of tree it is, and if you know your trees, you'll probably be able to tell better than I by looking at a photo of the tree.

I am concerned about the tree because I have noticed two cracks in the bark near the base of the tree, one more or less on the east side and one more or less on the west side. I took a couple of photographs of the larger crack on the east side of the tree:


Since we just moved into the house, I don't know when the tree was planted or how it has been taken care of. From what I have been able to find on the internet, cracks in tree bark are commonly caused by freeze/thaw cycles during the winter. This past winter was quite bad in Omaha, so that seems like a reasonable explanation. But it has also been rather windy this week, and I see that poor little tree getting blown in the wind and wonder if the cracks might also be caused by the tree bending too much in the wind. I have read that staking a tree against wind is not generally in the tree's best interest; the stess of wind blowing on the tree helps it develop the trunk strength that it needs to withstand the wind.

Does anyone have any knowledgeable advice about what may be going on with the tree and what I can do to help it? Or is the tree even worth saving?

Here are a few photos from early September. The wounds at the base of the tree look like they are attempting to fill in. The tree doesn't show much, if any, growth at the top.



Not sure what kind of tree it is. I learned the trees of NC very well when I worked on the tree crew with your dad, but this doesn't look familiar.

My un-knowledgeable advice is to replace it while it is still small. This doesn't look like it will end well to me.