Need advice saving a large diseased codominant live oak

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Laneman

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Hey Folks, yesterday I began the process of helping a large sickly codominant live oak on my land. It is choked out and surrounded by hackberries and 4 inch diameter mustang grape vines. I cut the 1st Hackberry, a 50 foot x 18 inch trunk. I also cut most of the vine trunks around it at ground level. I have a 15 foot reach gas pole saw for the lower level dead wood. That's about all I can do, not equipped or skilled to climb. This will give it more sunlight and water. One trunk has rusty barbed wire imbedded a foot into the diameter, nothing I can do there. That side of the tree the bark looks different, seems like it's sick. There are numerous dead branches that are decayed all the way to the trunk. I see green leaves higher up, so at least some of it is alive. It sounds bleak but I'd like to help it. Any advice is much appreciated.
 

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ATH

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Don't worry about plants under the oak unless you are in an arid area where water competition is significant. Generally, get the tree sunlight...but since it has been shaded for so long, maybe leave a bit shade on it.

I wouldn't mulch it in the woods. Mulch in the landscape is trying to mimic what you have there.

What makes you think it is diseased? Lower/shaded branches dying is part of the natural growth cycle...
 

TheJollyLogger

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+1 on that. What disease are you suspecting? Looks like a fairly normal live oak in that setting to me. The Bark difference may be related to some girdling from the barb wire at some point, but hard to tell from the one pic. Overall, from what I can see the canopy looks normal for a live oak in those conditions.
 
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Trim all the dead away and tree spade in a little bit of 12-12-12 or equivalent around the drip line take a 16oz solo cup and fill up 3/4 of the way with fertilizer and spade about 6 of those equally around the drip line. It could Jumpstart some growth next season. Or buy fertilizer stakes.
 

Laneman

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+1 on that. What disease are you suspecting? Looks like a fairly normal live oak in that setting to me. The Bark difference may be related to some girdling from the barb wire at some point, but hard to tell from the one pic. Overall, from what I can see the canopy looks normal for a live oak in those conditions.
The disease does seem to be from the barbed wire. That entire side of the tree is struggling and has most of the dead wood.
 

ATH

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Is the barbed wire wrapped around the tree, going through it, or on the outside of one side? If it is just going through, how deep into the tree is it? If it is wrapped around or on the outside of one side, can you see a visible depression in the trunk caused by the wire (If so, cut the wire...)
 

SweetMK

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I moved to our property in 1982.
Just about every other year since then I have fertilized the trees near our home the same way.
I have a 4" diameter bulb planting auger that connects to a hand drill.
I go around the "drip line" of each tree, and drill 6 to 12 holes, about 6 inches deep.
I fill the hole with 10-10-10 fertilizer, then kick the removed dirt back onto the hole.
With the fertilizer in the hole, the grass is not getting first chance at the fertilizer.

These fertilized trees have grown 2X in diameter as compared to the trees that have not been fertilized.

We have done apple trees, and cherry trees like this also.

One year we did holes with a mixture of lime, Epsom salt, AZomite, and who knows what else,,,
if the tree wants the element,, it is there!! Come and get it!!
 

FR3

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I took a closer look at those pictures. Personally, I think what you have are 2 different varieties of tree there that have grown together.
Agreed… first thought as soon as I saw the pics… bark is completely different and I’d guarantee the leaves are different as well, a few close up pics of the foliage would easily confirm.
 
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Hey Folks, yesterday I began the process of helping a large sickly codominant live oak on my land. It is choked out and surrounded by hackberries and 4 inch diameter mustang grape vines. I cut the 1st Hackberry, a 50 foot x 18 inch trunk. I also cut most of the vine trunks around it at ground level. I have a 15 foot reach gas pole saw for the lower level dead wood. That's about all I can do, not equipped or skilled to climb. This will give it more sunlight and water. One trunk has rusty barbed wire imbedded a foot into the diameter, nothing I can do there. That side of the tree the bark looks different, seems like it's sick. There are numerous dead branches that are decayed all the way to the trunk. I see green leaves higher up, so at least some of it is alive. It sounds bleak but I'd like to help it. Any advice is much appreciated.
I also cut most of the vine trunks around it at ground level.
I would cut EVERY vine trunk at ground level. A lot of work from looking at the pics but that will prevent the vines from strangling the canopy growth. Eventually the vines will die and fall from their own weight. I would also paint the vine stumps with 2-4-D. jmho :cool: OT
 

TheJollyLogger

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I'm sure THEY are right there, living their best life, wondering what all the hubbub is about, lol. Depending on where he is in Texas, live oaks generally lose their leaves sometime between Jan and early March, and then usually promptly bud out new ones... The one on the left might be a cedar elm, hard to say from that one pic of the bark. I would imagine by late April trees look fine, and we will have a shot at ID on the left tree from the leaves.
 

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