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Old 04-15-2019, 05:42 AM   #1
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Tree pruning


I have an approx 25' tall swamp white oak in my front yard. The main trunk of tree has Y'd. I'm curious if I should have one side taken off, so it's a straight shot or leave as is. I know this creates a weak point on some trees, not sure on my oak.
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:06 AM   #2
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Re: Tree pruning


Personally, I'd remove the whole tree as it's too close to the driveway.
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:25 AM   #3
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You can't even see my driveway in those pictures. It's arty least 15, if not 20ft from my drive. It's about 5' from the street and 5' from the sidewalk. I had the city plant it 10yrs ago and no way am I getting rid of it. 100 plus yr old neighborhood known for its tee lined streets.
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Old 04-15-2019, 09:27 AM   #4
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Re: Tree pruning


That's the street I see and not the driveway?
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:08 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stick\shift View Post
That's the street I see and not the driveway?
Yes. The tree is technically on city easement
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:10 AM   #6
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Re: Tree pruning


@Master Brian , great question!

I almost knee-jerk concurred with @stick\shift 's suggestion, but you described the situation and I get you want to keep the tree, for good reason. I've found that oaks aren't always the low-maintenance iron-clad trees people sometimes think they are. My folks had big ones get hollow and fall over. (If you already know all this, I'm sharing with others.) A neighbor had one 6 feet across fall over onto the roof of his house. Ruined his whole day.

Ordinarily, if you're going to get rid of a "Y" you do it sooner, before the tree has a chance to get too big.

But, on the other hand, it appears that you might be able to get away with doing it now. Your tree isn't that terribly big, and I'm pretty sure it's not had the chance to get rotten yet. I've seen "Y" trees split, and I note you're in Kansas, so you might get nasty wind worse than I used to back in Ohio.

It looks like if you do remove the smaller arm of the "Y" the tree will be close to straight anyway. So I say go ahead.

If arborists disagree, advise and the reasons, please.
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Old 04-15-2019, 11:24 AM   #7
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I know Bradford pears are horrible for splitting in these spots. My understanding is the joint gets filled with bark. I hear what you say about the wind and maintenance required. I have a big silver maple in my back yard and every few years I pay to have it cleaned up. I grew up with the maples and the wind plays havoc with them every year. I've been fortunate with my upkeep to have kept falling branches to a very very minimum of maybe a twig or two. I might get something bigger, but not often and not big enough to cause damage.

This oak is still small enough I could likely handle, but I've called in for a quote from my arborist. I'm curious what he says, but also curious what others might say as well.

The city gave me choices as to what to plant and I chose the swamp white as it gets fairly large and generally maintenance is low. My fear was slow growing, but the city arborist said with good water and fertilizer it'd grow fairly fast. We are 17' to water table, so that's a plus, but I also have irrigation system and I fertilize my fescue lawn regularly. I've been happy with the results.
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Old 04-15-2019, 02:13 PM   #8
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Re: Tree pruning


Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Brian View Post
I know Bradford pears are horrible for splitting in these spots. My understanding is the joint gets filled with bark. I hear what you say about the wind and maintenance required. I have a big silver maple in my back yard and every few years I pay to have it cleaned up. I grew up with the maples and the wind plays havoc with them every year. I've been fortunate with my upkeep to have kept falling branches to a very very minimum of maybe a twig or two. I might get something bigger, but not often and not big enough to cause damage.

This oak is still small enough I could likely handle, but I've called in for a quote from my arborist. I'm curious what he says, but also curious what others might say as well.

The city gave me choices as to what to plant and I chose the swamp white as it gets fairly large and generally maintenance is low. My fear was slow growing, but the city arborist said with good water and fertilizer it'd grow fairly fast. We are 17' to water table, so that's a plus, but I also have irrigation system and I fertilize my fescue lawn regularly. I've been happy with the results.
Do yourself a favor.

Dismember that silver maple! Oh dear god, the horrors, seriously. We had us a big blow in Ohio in 1993 and silver maples were salaaming to Mecca, the North Pole, Mexico, every direction, and taking wires with them, smashing cars, egad.

Plant something that stands a chance of not getting hollowed out and blown over when they get to be six feet across with a hollow about 4 feet across. (I've seen that. EEK!) They're great firewood! (Maybe a sugar or red maple instead?)

At least you've got a nice, deep water table, and good on you for checking and finding out. At the old place in Ohio it seemed like we were more like three feet, thought that's a (fortunately) gross exaggeration.
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Old 04-16-2019, 05:26 AM   #9
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The tree trimmer stopped and said it should definitely have the Y removed, said it should have been done years ago before planted, but I honestly don't recall it being there more than a few years.

In any case what he suggested is not running the entire arm, but cut about a third off beat the top, watch it and prune it again every year or dip to remove more. Said likely a ten year project. He's sending one of his crew to do it on the side as he doesn't want to charge what he'd normally need to charge.

As for the maple, it'll go in time, but for now is healthy and well pruned. In fact he didn't see any need to touch it at this time. I have planted another oak in back yard to replace it in time.
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Old 04-16-2019, 05:55 AM   #10
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Re: Tree pruning


I agree with removal of the "y". I had twin maples over 80' tall in our back yard and I feared the worst in a wind storm, so I asked our best tree guy to give me an analysis. He said although the trees looked healthy, he could guarantee there was rot in the crevice between the trees. I had him remove both and there in the joint was the rot he was describing. Only a few years and the trees would have fallen without wind, and virtually no outward sign of damage.
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:32 AM   #11
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Re: Tree pruning


@Master Brian Hope all goes well, especially with that silver maple. I say beware, though maybe you're in a drier climate that's easier on them than Ohio was.

Good luck!
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