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How to plug a hole in a tree....

Discussion in 'Commercial Tree Care and Climbing' started by Treetom, May 7, 2010.

  1. Treetom

    Treetom AboristSite Guru

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    I have a client with a 48" dbh red oak. There's a big hole in the trunk at about 25'. He'd like to plug it up. Is there a product any of you have used that would work in such an application? The old "tree surgeons" around these parts would just fill a void with concrete or tar. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
     
  2. highasatree

    highasatree ArboristSite Operative

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    expanding foam should do the trick.
     
  3. brokenbudget

    brokenbudget Addicted to ArboristSite

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    48" wide tree with a 25' hole in it?:dizzy:
     
  4. randyg

    randyg ArboristSite Operative

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    Two types of expanding foam. One expands just for so long and then stops. The other will continue to expand for several weeks or more and not recommended for use around windows or doors as will expand to much and cause trouble. I guess the first type would be better so as not to cause to much pressure and possibly split tree? Then exposed portion must be treated (painted) to protect from UV rays breaking down. Might even texture to somewhat match the bark and use same color paint. Some metal screen material pressed in a bit before foam sets completely might help deter certain rodents from building a nicely insulated house in there. I think its best to dig/scrape out all loose rotting decaying material before filling cavity. You might want to bill this time and materials.
     
  5. treeman75

    treeman75 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I have used ruberized undercoating in a shaker can. I use just anough to seal the wound not fill the hole.
     
  6. RacerX

    RacerX Addicted to ArboristSite

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    He said at about 25', meaning 25' off of the ground. But maybe you knew that.
     
  7. Sunrise Guy

    Sunrise Guy Addicted to ArboristSite

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    How big is that hole? I would not want to plug any hole that is big enough to compromise the strength of the holding wood that supports the rest of the tree. If you plug it, and the tree fails, look for your involvement in a lawsuit. Also, explain to the owner that the cavity may still continue rotting out due to invasive pathogens getting into the foam or whatever you put in there. I would have the owner sign off on a waiver that acknowledges that the tree may still fail and that he/she will not hold you responsible for the same. I would evaluate the structural strength of the tree and then, if the situation called for it, recommend its removal to eliminate the chance of its failure. It's a litigious world out there. CYA.
     
  8. Treetom

    Treetom AboristSite Guru

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    Well thought out Sunrise Guy. I believe this is a dangerous tree with extensive rot in the trunk. Judging by the holes further up in the major branches, some critters have created quite a home for themselves, perhaps a system of tunnels. This tree is an accident waiting to happen, just a question of how long. I explained to the HO that it is a good candidate for removal, but he thinks that digging all the rot out of the big hole and filling it in will make a difference in the tree's longevity. Sign off on liability sounds like a good idea.
     
  9. Bermie

    Bermie Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Who's the tree expert, you or him?

    Digging rot out of a hole is a sure way to make the situation worse, by digging at it you run the chance of penetrating the comparmentalization barrier and opening up sound wood to decay organisms. Fillings and foam can create further problems by creating more sheltered areas for decay...
    If the problems are extensive the removal is warranted...depending on the condition, targets below and the risk assessment!

    I have just taken on the management of a 300 yr old Tamarind...it's hollow, limbs have old splits, its HUGE, but the bugger is managing well...no way am I filling anything in or disturbing any existing decay pockets.
     
  10. BC WetCoast

    BC WetCoast Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If the HO doesn't want it removed, then a major reduction to reduce failure risk (probability of failure and the consequence should the limb fail) could be considered. I can't say for sure without seeing the tree, but something to consider.
     
  11. treemandan

    treemandan Tree Freak

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    Sometimes, in these cases, tree support rope can be half hitched around and around the entire tree if some guy wants to get crazy.
     
  12. ropensaddle

    ropensaddle Feel Lucky

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    I would not touch that with a ten foot pole lol. I would either do reductions over several years or remove,what are the targets?high use area?
     
  13. vaclimber

    vaclimber ArboristSite Lurker

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    Sound advice!
     
  14. Treetom

    Treetom AboristSite Guru

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    I like your ideas Bermie.
     
  15. Ted-RI

    Ted-RI ArboristSite Lurker

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    What's going on here? Is this thread from the seventies????? Have you ever read a book about proper tree care practices? Don't fill cavities.
     
    Bermie and Norwayclimber like this.
  16. vaclimber

    vaclimber ArboristSite Lurker

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    :greenchainsaw::greenchainsaw
    Unless they're in your mouth.:greenchainsaw:
     
  17. Treetom

    Treetom AboristSite Guru

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    The HO just called and insists this hole can be sealed.... just wants to keep water from settling in the cavity. I'm ready to just jam an umbrella in the cavity and call it good.
     
  18. Norwayclimber

    Norwayclimber ArboristSite Operative

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    Just ask the HO why he dosnt plug it himself, since he obviously is the expert...
     
  19. Treetom

    Treetom AboristSite Guru

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    After discussing this issue with the HO, we decided it was best to leave this 48" dbh red oak alone. With an eye to some future cabling perhaps. Thanks for the feedback. Did remove some large dead limbs, though. Located right over the stairway to the lake.
     
  20. Norwayclimber

    Norwayclimber ArboristSite Operative

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    :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
     

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