UKTC Archive

Re: sapwood of roots - deterioration

Subject: Re: sapwood of roots - deterioration
From: Wayne Tyson
Date: Aug 08 2019 09:02:27
If you're talking about the relationship of dead roots to failure
potential, you may want to consider the fact that most of the resistance
from tipping comes from the finer roots, which lose strength almost
immediately. Top dieback, in the absence of localized disease or pest
damage, is commonly due to fine root death, meaning that the tree is
rendered far less stable than when it was vigorously alive. It is primarily
the root/soil matrix that provides the resistance to tipping, for example.
Of course, the root plate, even when dead, continues to provide some
resistance to tipping by its sheer bulk, but it, too will ultimately lose
its strength. Trees are are well-balanced will last longer; those with
uneven or asymmetrical crown/branch structures, will go sooner. It's all
elementary physics and the sum of the force vectors acting upon the tree. I
have known quite large forest trees (mainly conifers, which tend to have
symmetrical crowns), to remain standing as snags for many years, but the
gravitational force vector is toward the center of the earth, and usually
it has lost all or most of its "widow-maker" branches by then. If dead
trees are to remain standing, a periphery should be set up to keep people
at least a distance equal to the height of the remaining tree plus a fudge
factor to prevent tree parts from being propelled farther from the force of
the fall. Snags that are to be left for wildlife purposes should be
vertical and plumb, with no asymmetry of branches.

Needless to say, the time to fell or take down a tree is, at minimum, the
moment the tree is beyond recovery; felling longer-dead tree is suicide for
arborists. No one should be asked to risk her or his life working on
long-dead standing trees, unless a cherry-picker can be used to safely take
down the upper branches and trunk sections all the way to the ground,
accompanied with adequate crane equipment. In the forest, people should be
warned to stay away from dead or dying trees.


On Thu, Aug 8, 2019 at 12:54 AM Philip Wilson <> wrote:

I wonder if anyone can venture a view on the rate at which the sapwood of a
woody root is expected to deteriorate following the death of the root.
Assuming a discrete time of death in one growing season, could it have
become woolly and easily crumbled between the fingers 12 months later? Or
it more plausible that it would take longer than 12 months to reach this


The UK Tree Care mailing list
To unsubscribe send

The UKTC is supported by Bosky Trees arboricultural consultancy

The UK Tree Care mailing list
To unsubscribe send

The UKTC is supported by Bosky Trees arboricultural consultancy