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White oak - thin leaf out

jeffc

jeffc

ArboristSite Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2013
Messages
89
Location
Pa
Hello all,

We have 5 completely wooded acres surrounded by hundreds of other wooded acres and preserve. We are lucky to have an enormous and seemingly ancient white oak (by SE Pa standards) that clearly dominates the forest. Unfortunately, this year's leaf out seems to be quite thin compared to the last two years. I don't see many bare branches, most are populated with some leaves, but overall the foliage is certainly not as thick, leaving plenty of open canopy. I'm worried that the tree may have been impacted by construction or the increased runoff caused by construction. I have noticed that water pools in front of the tree, most likely from compaction creating a low spot caused by running my compact tractor in the area while clearing and building a fire pit. The soil does still percolate quite well, though.

Is this part of a normal cycle? It's hard for me to figure out by simply reading online material, and decided to post here in hopes of getting a professional opinion. I don't have any pics of it, but can post some tonight if that will help.
 
C. J. Hall

C. J. Hall

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Jun 9, 2016
Messages
22
Age
51
Location
Knoxville, TN.
Traffic under a mature tree can really do a great deal of harm. When you fly over the Oregon trail you can still see wagon tracks made almost two hundred years ago! Compacted soil loses its pore space, and that is critical to trees. If you want to re-aerate it, that will help. You need a 1/2 inch drill and a 2-3 inch auger. They sell these on various arborist websites for @35.00. The goal is to auger a hole every 2-3 feet in a grid under the canopy of the tree. Once that is done I would get a 5 gallon pail of Vertimulch from treedoc.com and apply a scoop to each hole. Then you can add a handful or two of a light soil or compost. This will perk up your tree and make oxygen and nutrients more available to the roots.
 
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Jason Douglas

Jason Douglas

ArboristSite Guru
Joined
Oct 23, 2016
Messages
549
Age
41
Location
Columbus
Changing the hydrology pattern around many oaks can be disastrous. A famous oak just had to be removed and that was part of the problem. Have a consulting arborist out to the site
 
jeffc

jeffc

ArboristSite Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2013
Messages
89
Location
Pa
Thanks for the replies. I do have a trustworthy arborist in mind to look at it. He has been to our property once before to give us a price for clearing the lot and driveway. Hopefully he tells me I'm nuts or has a simple plan to rectify this. This tree is kind of an extension of our family now.


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