.....a warning to those of you that have large trees and have experienced sever and prolonged high wind events in the last 3 years. Do yourself and your loved ones a favor! Get your tree's looked at by a licensed and insured tree surgeon or Arborist!
We've lived in this current home for almost 8 years now and during those years we have experienced many things. What happened today was not only an eye-opener but a sort of call to arms that showed us that things in nature can look perfectly normal and in a split second, it's revealed nothing is as it appears .
At about 5:05pm EDT, the limb in the picture below snapped and fell to the ground. There was no storm, just a light rain that had subsided about 30 minutes earlier and absolutely no wind. It's been a dead calm most of the day. Note that before work cutting it up was started, both of the "leaders" extended to where I was standing while taking this picture. To also give additional perspective how hard the impact was, the limb hit with such a force it shook the house and drove two 6" leaders 3ft into the ground, one through a granite cobble path that was almost 14" thick with granite and gravel.
We have a friend who is an Arborist and Tree Surgeon and from what he explained, this happened for a reason. Not in the "all things happen for a reason" sense but evidently, this tree started down the path that led to this during Irene in 2011. He was definitely shocked at the size of the limb but more so because of how bad other limbs are that remain.
Now, what makes this so amazing is that we have been working in this very area under this tree for the last 3 months and on some rather windy days as recent as yesterday. I even had plans to do some other things today but the rain hampered that. This is not a play to drama but had this happened yesterday or it not rained today, it certainly would have killed me. Plus, we have 6 more trees as large or larger that now need to be looked at so basically the whole yard is off limits until next week.
We also learned that about 60% of the tree limbs, the majority larger than this and as high as 125ft up, all show signs of stress fracturing. The pictures below shows a stress fracture (or shattering) at the beginning stages after the tree has tried to heal the affected area. About 3-4ft of the damage appears in the shot and it continues for another 5-6ft downward.....
......and one that is in full blown failure mode.
I've learned that these stress fractures (or shattering) happen more frequently when the tree is subjected to sustained high winds for a prolonged period, like a tropical storm or in this case, Hurricane. It can also happen in some severe thunderstorm wind gusts. Like in our case, they don't fall immediately and the tree looks normal. Also In our situation, very normal because the canopy is so full of leaves. dead leaves or lack of in a mature tree is an indication this has happened. Anyhow, the tree tries to repair itself but water and insects can get into the splintering and cause the tree to decline. Now, this whole tree, a 200+ year old 130ft tall red oak and a centerpiece of the trees in our yard, need to be removed.
After looking at things this morning, I remain believing we are all very lucky around the house. The worst part is, we started looking at other trees and noticed the same signs of damage. Not the greatest of news considering one of the reasons we bought the house was because of the beautiful trees that surrounded it. The DW is going to be destroyed when we talk later.
Edited by oldschool1982 - 7/11/14 at 8:01pm