UKTC Archive

Re: Dead Oak Tree

Subject: Re: Dead Oak Tree
From: Wayne Tyson
Date: Jul 24 2020 07:39:49
It was not my intention to imply that "healthy" trees are dangerous. Each
tree has to be considered according to its physical form, condition, and
context. That's why a tree that would be left as a dead snag in the forest
because it is impractical and dangerous to remove them, whereas the same
tree in an area where its failure could destroy lives and property might
have to be removed. The standard I apply has to do with the *trend*. Is the
tree growing stronger or weaker? To what degree becomes a "judgment" call.
Because we love trees, especially big, tall, old, picturesque ones, we
sometimes rationalize on the side of retention and end up with a lawsuit *or
worse. *A few years ago, our fair city (us taxpayers) had to pay almost
$10,000,000 to a man rendered incapable of walking. A more recent death was
only worth a few hundred thousand. The law is perverse.

You are there; I'm only looking at photos and don't like what I see. But
that's my judgment call based on very thin evidence. If you want to supply
more detailed photos, it might be possible to do a better job of a *highly
preliminary* "assessment." In some cases apparently similar to this I have
noticed that a fallen or pushed-over tree continues to function as wildlife


On Fri, Jul 24, 2020 at 12:17 AM Tahir Sharif <> wrote:

There are 5 other oak trees along that stretch of stream (maybe over
300mtrs), all overhanging the road and another whopper further down that's
not so close to the road. I hear what you're saying, and I do want to do a
sensible job in protecting the public, but as you've inferred seemingly (to
my untrained eye) healthy trees have the potential to fail, partially or
catastrophically. If I'm getting the gist of what you're saying all of
these trees should be considered unsafe? In the village itself there are
several huge beeches and oaks in public areas that have the potential kill
and maim and indeed we have around 1.5 km of public footpaths running
through our land that are heavily tree lined on at least one side.

Having followed UKTC for several years I'm aware of the ecological value
of the standing deadwood and the fact that it could potentially stand
safely for decades to come, likewise I understand the potential for summer
branch drop and complete failure on seemingly healthy trees. I can't
eliminate risk, all I can do is make a judgement call.

I think I'll trim and carry on monitoring.


-----Original Message-----
On Behalf Of Wayne Tyson
Sent: 23 July 2020 21:22
To: UK Tree Care <>
Subject: Re: Dead Oak Tree

Nudge "tests" themselves can add to the sum of the forces acting upon the
structure. *Theoretically*, they might have the effect of contributing to
the buildup, in time, of still-living tissues placed under stress, possibly
adding strength to the structure, but also could weaken it by rupturing
dead and living parts. There is no way to *know* which, or to what degree
the "test" might produce such effects. I suspect that the latter effect is
more likely to occur than the former. Since there is no way to *measure*
the effects upon the structure, it necessarily falls into the realm of
guesswork and presumption.

Intuitively, because of the direction of lean, I suspect the risk is
relatively low, but not non-existent. I share your concern about the dead
part overhanging the fraction of the "kill zone" opposite the direction of
the lean. I share the "hope" that whatever failures occur will cause no
harm. I do not believe that every dead or declining tree should be cut
down--in fact, when I was a U. S. Forest Service tree surveyor in my youth,
I narrowly escaped death, from a "widow-maker" while working in windy
conditions. I was aware of the risk, both in that instance and in general,
of doing that work and accepted it--my family would have had no standing or
cause to sue the government. In addition, I was "on notice" of the
potentially hazardous nature of the work. I saw the body of a logger who
had bad luck, his crushed hard hat placed over the part where his head had
been. A colleague was killed by a falling tree under different
circumstances. The "risk" in these cases was "relatively" low.

I have a case on file that occurred in my county where a failure of a
"live" tree (a live-oak) on the edge of, and leaning over, a rural road
that killed a man driving his car past the tree at the "wrong" time. It was
decreed "an act of God." The indications of potential were there, but
"subtle" to the unpracticed eye. I have photographs of this on file. If
anyone is interested, I could email copies.


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The UKTC forum is supported by Bosky Trees arboricultural consultancy and
Stockholm Tree Pits