The entire top of a black walnut tree at the back of the church property
broke off about 20' up; looks like a windstorm got it (but I don't
remember any strong winds recently.) I can either cut the top off clean
where it broke and let the tree try to grow back, or I can cut the tree
down. To safely fell the tree, I probably need to trim the broken part
off first anyway.
I assume the tree will send up a plethora of watersprouts if I leave
just a trunk there. Will a it grow back into a respectable tree from
that if I thin the watersprouts to the 3 or 4 biggest ones? Would they
also need spreaders or ropes to grow them more laterally instead of
Or is the tree doomed and I should just cut it now and plant something else?
Since posting this, I've come to the same conclusion. The county has an
arborist, but his default answer to any question is "cut it down", so I
don't know how useful he is. Maybe I need to call the state dept of
Other folks are telling me to sell it for making gunstocks etc. and use
the proceeds to buy a new tree. I'll check into that, but I don't think
this tree's wood is very valuable. It's black walnut, but looks like
it's mostly white sapwood. I guess they can still stain it, or maybe
they steam it or something and the black heartwood darkens the sapwood...
Someone who tells everyone to cut it down is not an arborist. If the
part still standing has healthy leaves then the tree is worth
saving... it probably needs a little surgery and dentistry, may need
some cavity rot removed and then filled. I'd say planting a new black
walnut is a last resort, most folks alive today will be dead before a
sapling black walnut becomes a tree.
I won't know for sure until I trim the broken part(s), but I don't think
it will have any leaves. It broke right above the first branch and then
fell on that one remaining branch. Don't know how much damage it did to
the branch. The trunk looks healthy; I didn't see any rot looking at it
from the ground. And there are a few watersprouts but none in the right
I want to find a *real* arborist to see if it has a chance. I think I
know how to trim it and train the new growth but I don't want to waste 4
or 5 years just postponing the inevitable if that time would be better
spent letting a new oak or maple or hickory (or hackberry, or cherry,
or...) tree grow to take its place.
Walnut trees are not much loved around here. OTOH, I could plant a
cottonwood tree :-)
Cottonwood trees near any structure/building are big trouble, their
roots are very invasive and casue great damage to walks/roads and they
are a rather large tree that grows fast, unfortunately its wood is
weak and massive limbs can and do suddenly fall. I'd not plant
cottonwood as a specimen tree near buildings or in small spaces, they
are best way out in the open, they have interesting looking bark that
becomes so hard it'll make a chainsaw spark.
Without knowing where and in what type of location it's difficult to
recommend a tree, but I'd not plant a nut tree of any type as a street
tree or anywhere near buildings, they are very messy trees. Perhaps
consider a linden tree. I planted a Little Leaf Linden 'June Bride'
at the road on my property line, the first in a row of several other
trees acting as a kind of 'fence/boundary marker', it's doing very
Nice looking tree you got there.
"Cottonwood" was a joke, because of all the fuzz. The whole town
would hate me. It would make a fine looking specimen though, and it's
out in an open area kind-of close to a little stream.
Maybe I should look into a /male/ cottonwood tree. Or a London
Planetree (related to sycamore.) We have room for something big like
London planetrees are lovely shade trees, and grow huge. I planted
two seedlings in my back yard ten years ago, they are about 15 feet
tall now and finally looking like trees. They wre tiny bareroot
seedlings no thicker than a pencil and about 30 inches tall. There
they are in this picture from last year:
Depending on where you are, a London Plane might not be the best idea.
In NYC, for example, they are seriously frowned upon for a couple of
reasons- size is one, relatively early senescence another, and finally
they are highly susceptible to Asian Longhorn Beetle infestation.
But they are beautiful...
On Tue, 16 Aug 2011 09:36:22 -0500, Chris Thompson
Obviously the planting of every tree should be well thought out, use
ones common sense. London planetrees are much more disease and insect
resistant than sycamore, but virtually all plants are suseptible to
diseases and insect infestations... modern science now gives one the
tools to cope with much more success... if gardeners chose only plants
with 100% guarantees of success they'd plant nothing. There are many
areas in NYC where streets were once lined with sycamores that thrived
for a hundred years and more but were eventually removed because as
they attained great size they caused great damage to walks and roads.
There are still many sycamores in NYC.
If lightning hit it, it would not have a clean cut. I would show what the
tree looks like across the street, but not now. It literally exploded in
the middle. Shredded down the center from the steam. Sections blown out.
I found a pine down on my property. Pretty clean cut. I looked over about
25 feet to see where it came from.
Here is severe lightning damage. The storm woke everyone up around town. A
loud evil sounding crack, then a Santa in my closet saying ho ho ho, merry
Christmas. I had to get up after that.
Spruce tend to split easily. Different woods behave differently from
lightening strikes... and of course each lightening strike is
different. Age, tree size, and tree health also affect the damage
from a lightening strike.... there are infinite variables... it's
silly to say what kind of damage should ensue from lightening, better
chance of guessing about earthquakes.
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