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Video: Care Of Old-growth Trees
How to properly care for old-growth trees
There are more and more happy owners of land plots. And, as a rule, their owners first focus on the layout of the site and the architecture of the house, and only lastly - on green spaces.
However, without shrubs and trees, the site loses a significant portion of its attractiveness. Quite often, the acquired land already has trees, including old-growth ones.
And sooner or later, the owners for the most part try to preserve these centenarians, understanding their eternal beauty.
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Another situation is possible, when in some old personal courtyard, where more than one generation of people has changed, long-livers make noise with their crowns, sometimes decorating a very small piece of land with their presence.
Sometimes these trees (or a tree) awaken long-forgotten memories, call them into the past, and those who are now living suddenly notice the passage of time, feel sad, and the thought comes to their minds that a tree is a living organism that requires attention and care that needs to be prolonged the life of veteran plants, maintaining the harmony of man and nature.
In any case, it all starts with an inspection of the tree. Let's talk about what you, as the owner, need to pay attention to. And we will do this using the example of an old-growth (over a hundred years old) oak tree, since it is with oak trees that concepts such as longevity, strength, solidity are associated. It was them in various estates that the owners planted in honor of any event.
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So, first of all, look at the tree as a whole and estimate the number of dry branches. If they immediately catch your eye, sometimes dominating in some parts of the crown, and at the same time the green leaf of living branches does not have a rich color, this should alarm you.
And if at the same time you still saw the fruiting bodies of woody mushrooms in different places, then this is a sure sign that you need to seriously work with this tree. But if you did not find any mushrooms, but in general, with a large number of dry branches, the leaves are dark green (photo 1), then this tree will still live long enough, but dry branches must be removed - and from the point of view of aesthetics: after all, dead trunks bring up heavy thoughts, and in terms of security.
Next, look for hollows on the tree trunk below the ground, as well as above. If the oak bifurcates into two trunks at any distance from the ground, you should pay attention to the place of the bifurcation. Hollows and cracks often appear in such places (photo 2), where snow and rain penetrate, creating favorable conditions for the development of stem rot.
If a bite hole is found (photo 3), then through the hole determine how far the wood decomposition process has gone. This can be done with a probe from available tools. And if you see that there is a lot of rotten wood, it falls off with light exposure, then this is a cause for concern.
It happens that the decay process has gone quite far, and by sticking a cavity along the core of the trunk, it connects to the hole you saw at the top in the fork in the trunks, just on the trunk (photo 4) or with a flaw formed after breaking or sawing off (photo 5) of a large branch. Such a tree requires specialist work.
Now move away from the tree and look at it as a whole, in general. Try to estimate the size of the crown, its thickening and direction of the branches. If the sky is difficult to see through the crown, the branches are chaotically intertwined both up and in the transverse direction, intersect, cross, rub against each other, then this is a sure sign of thickening.
And the oak is a light-loving plant, and by pruning the branches in this case, we carry out several operations at once: lightening, rejuvenation and, possibly, relief for safety reasons.
In the case when the trunk diameter is 0.8 m or more, and even more so if a tree somewhere above branches into two or even three trunks, and branches have never been pruned on it, then we can safely say that this the crown has a large windage, that is, with a strong, gusty wind, significant loads arise in the main trunks, which can lead to fractures in weak places.
In the lower part of the crown there should be no thick branches growing at a slight angle to the horizon, and especially if there is a flaw at the base of the branch on the trunk (photo 6). As they grow, the branch can become so heavy that it will break at the base.
It is due to this small angle that the weight distribution of the branch is unfavorable, and therefore its small diameter can be confusing from a safety point of view. Cutting off individual branches, maybe you can do it yourself. But for the correct pruning of the crown it is better, of course, to invite specialists.
Very often you can see cracks on old trees (photo 7), or even wide longitudinal faults. This may be due to temperature changes or a purely mechanical effect of the weight of a piece of wood or wind action. In these places, there is no bark that protects the tree, like human skin, and there is the possibility of pathogens entering the wood.
Cracks can grow larger over time, increasing the likelihood of the wood breaking down. In this case, it is difficult for a layman to assess the condition of the tree, and the above-mentioned flaws are a reason for consulting with masters of park and garden care. In many cases, the installation of screeds (photo 8) and the correct relief of the crown give a positive result.
I briefly talked about the main aspects to look out for when determining the condition of an old growth tree. Maybe now many will take a different look at such an interesting object of nature as a tree. And now it's up to everyone to invite professionals to take care of their pet or do the work themselves to preserve the memory of the past.
Read the next part. How to properly handle a hollow →
• Why cracks appear on the trunk and how to deal with them
• Treatment of fruit trees after biting
• Revitalization of frozen or broken plants
• How to save trees affected by frost
• How to protect fruit and ornamental plants from cracks