How do you decide whether or not to save a tree on a construction project (Part 1)?

Last week I was doing field work for a client and came across a large white oak. The tree was not in the limit of disturbance (it was about 40′ away), but the local ordinance called for it be called out in the report.

The tree was very large (53″ in diameter) with an elliptical cross section because it had two trunks that diverged at about 5′ (see twin-trunked tree in center background of picture below).

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The union of the two trunks was cracked, and at the crack there was a hole.

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I inserted my Biltmore stick (a forestry tool for collecting field data) into the hole and it went into the short side of the elliptical cross-section to a depth of 32″.

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So, we have a very important tree, but one with a significant defect. We also have some considerations for the site and planned improvements. In our next post we will talk about potential targets and how we define them, and we’ll later discuss industry standards and best practices for tree risk assessment. Finally, we’ll talk about the national consensus industry standard for tree management during construction (ANSI A300-Part 5) and what recommendations were made related to this tree.