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Turtle learner 11-22-2010 08:21 PM

Willow Oak care
 
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I have two towering 90+ feet high 50 year old willow oaks in Northern VA. I had a licensed arborist look at them to tell me if these trees were unhealthy, and if so, what I to do to maintain them. He gave me a ($900) estimate but never really explained the reason for the suggestion. He didn't say that the trees were unhealthy. I'm contacting this forum to see if what the arborist suggested is reasonable. He suggested injecting beneficial fungi + bacteria + micronutrients + yuccah extract into root zones. He said this would enhance the root system and grow about 10 times more roots than I already had. I'm not convinced having more roots is necessarily the answer. I'm trying to figure why he made this suggestion. The trees have some deadwood but he did not suggest it was abnormal. He never asked me about deadwood that falls occasionally. 2 to 4 foot dead branches come down accasionally after a rain or a wind. He didn't ask me about the increased growth of mushrooms under the trees in the past two years. I am more than willing to do whatever I need to do to save these trees, if they need saving, but I need to be convinced first that the trees are in need of help. Second, I need to know that the suggested remedy is the right one.

hortman 11-23-2010 12:03 PM

Willow Oak care
 
Hello, turtle learner. Ken here with The Home Depot in the Chicago area.
It sounds like you have two wonderful Willow Oaks( Quercus phellos ). The Sunset National Garden Book says of the Willow Oak( “Has no serious problems.Will tolerate poorly drained soils.”). Considering that, the arborist should have given you an explanation of his estimate. His reluctance makes me suspect he was just trying to make money.Your trees have been doing fine with the roots they have had for fifty years. The mushrooms may be beneficial or they may not be. I recommend you get a second opinion. Try another arborist and also your municipal forester. I would take a picture of the mushrooms showing their location in relationship to the tree. Bring it to your County Agricultural Extension agent for identification as to whether it’s beneficial or not.
Here is something else you can do. Stand back from your trees and look at them. Is the branching pattern symmetrical? If the pattern is lopsided that could be a danger in high winds.
Also look to see if there are any branches that are crossing and rubbing against each other. This will create a weak point in the branches that could bring them down in the future.
I hope this helps and keep me posted. Here is a great link on oaks and their environment.


http://ceventura.ucdavis.edu/newslet...Notes11016.pdf

jamiedolan 11-24-2010 12:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Turtle learner (Post 538973)
I have two towering 90+ feet high 50 year old willow oaks in Northern VA. I had a licensed arborist look at them to tell me if these trees were unhealthy, and if so, what I to do to maintain them. He gave me a ($900) estimate but never really explained the reason for the suggestion. He didn't say that the trees were unhealthy. I'm contacting this forum to see if what the arborist suggested is reasonable. He suggested injecting beneficial fungi + bacteria + micronutrients + yuccah extract into root zones. He said this would enhance the root system and grow about 10 times more roots than I already had. I'm not convinced having more roots is necessarily the answer. I'm trying to figure why he made this suggestion. The trees have some deadwood but he did not suggest it was abnormal. He never asked me about deadwood that falls occasionally. 2 to 4 foot dead branches come down accasionally after a rain or a wind. He didn't ask me about the increased growth of mushrooms under the trees in the past two years. I am more than willing to do whatever I need to do to save these trees, if they need saving, but I need to be convinced first that the trees are in need of help. Second, I need to know that the suggested remedy is the right one.

Do you have some summer photos of these trees you can show?

The dead wood is likely normal and should be taken care of with routine pruning, done in the early spring.

If the mushrooms are just in mulch around the tree, then it is likely not a problem at all, very few mushrooms are a problem with otherwise healthy live wood.

Most trees do not need fertilizer, etc, unless they have suffered some type of ill treatment and un-due stress.

Do you have any reason to believe that your trees as not doing well?

Jamie


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