Industry News: Bark and Trunk Concerns

Q: Why are these forest trees growing new branches on the trunks but have dead ones on the tops?

Thursday, June 23, 2016  

Q: We built a house in a mature wooded area seven years ago. There are various tall, slender oaks and a few walnut trees. When we cleared the house site, many of the trees around the perimeter were tall and slender with leaf growth predominantly on the top and little if none on the trunk. Many of these trees now have a lot of dead branches at their tops but much new healthy growth coming from the trunks. Should we be concerned, or is this normal, as the trees are now getting sun on their trunks, which were previously shaded, and there is growth in the "easy" areas that are lower? That is my amateur guess.

A: You may be right, as these trees were growing in the middle of the forest where no sun was getting to the trunks of the trees. Now they are exposed and possibly growing more along the trunks. If you are seeing decline in the tops of the trees and only viable growth along the trunks, this may be a sign of stress from construction, especially if these trees are on the edge near where the construction was. I would recommend possibly aerating the soil around the affected edge trees to try to relieve compaction in the soil for the roots to thrive, and possibly think about fertilizing these trees to help them out if they are being affected.

Responder: Chris Ahlum, RCA #465, Dublin, OH