UKTC Archive

RE: VTA & Decay Mapping

Subject: RE: VTA & Decay Mapping
From: dscottcul
Date: Dec 27 2002 11:53:41
Your completely correct on the extent of crown reduction and its effects on 
biological function.  I do understand the role of taboos.  I was really 
responding to Julian Dunster's observation that decay and poorly attached 
epicormics resulting from "topping" is not as universal as the taboo would 

The Thanksgiving turkey is traditional.  As much by successful marketing of 
turkey producers as by true historical preference perhaps, but there is a 
association there.  There is no such singular association with the Christmas 
meal.  I suspect many households select turkey, but many others select ham.  
And roast beef or lamb is probably used as well.  The Thanksgiving turkey 
probably transcended the ethnic preferences because it is the American 
holiday.  Christmas meal by contrast was probably more guided by ethnic 
tradition.  Although many immigrant groups enjoyed a prosperity here they 
did in the old country and may have celebrated with grander holiday meals 
they historically enjoyed.  Preferences may also be much more variable now 
our population includes many more Latin, Asian and African groups in addition 
to European ones.
Scott Cullen
Hi Scott

<<Among my Christmas presents was Thomas Packenham's new book.>>

Santa has indeed been kind.  A fantastic book isn't it?  It left me wanting
to plant an avenue of baobabs that would look at its best in a sunset.

<<The picture of huge old hollow trees over 1,000 year old got me to
thinking about the "no-topping" argument.  Just as you experience the
politically correct "toping is bad" mantra we do here as well.  OK so say
topping does result in decay.  Then it's not a good idea on an undecayed
stem.  But if we have a huge old tree that's already hollow who cares?  It's
so obvious it never occurred to me before.  Why would anyone oppose topping
as a means of preserving a hollow tree?  The answer of course seems to be
that "no topping" is a cultural rule our industry is not mature enough to
vary to fit conditions.>>

In the UK, 'topping' is a pejorative catchall term that most commonly
applies to poorly executed crown reductions.  It's a term used to
distinguish between good and bad treework.  'Topping is Bad' may appear to
be an intransigently dogmatic standpoint, but in this context, and by its
very definition this strikes me as both a reasonable and necessary tenet.
The semantic clarification aside, I take your point that the removal of a
large part of the crown may not have a significant impact on the promotion
of further decay in an old tree that already has extensive decay.  However,
this mechanical consideration is only one aspect of the management of such
trees.  The removal of a significant portion of the crown also has
considerable biological consequences for the tree.  Many, many old trees in
the UK have been killed by topping/crown reductions, and it strikes me that
the trick to their successful management (as well as hazardous trees with
significant decay) appears to be a balancing act between reducing their
vulnerability to mechanical failure, ie reducing the crown, and maintaining
their biological needs, ie leaving as much of the crown as possible.


Acer ventura

PS Whilst you're here, and completely off topic, I have a seasonal culinary
query.  Do you guys traditionally endure yet another turkey at Christmas, on
the heels of your Thanksgiving one?

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