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<mike ellison>
posted
I am interested to learn how professional arborists and foresters throughout the USA perceive old and decaying trees. Is decay and deadwood perceived to be threat to the integrity of trees? Or is it highly valued as a habitat resource?

I have come across a small number of individuals, both personally and in Internet forums, who place significant value on the habitats supported within decaying trees and on deadwood. Conversely, there appears to be a far greater number who view deadwood as an innoculum source for fungal colonisation of non-decayed tissues.

What are your views on the merits of retaining dead and decaying trees, and deadwood in otherwise healthy trees? Other than for the abatement of hazard, is the removal of deadwood nothing more than a commercial opportunity.

Mike Ellison
 
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<JPS>
posted
Reply to post by Mike Ellison, on May 24, 2000 at 16:47:59:

The removal of deadwood is both an aethetic and hazard reduction practice.

Hazard=risk of failure+target. The usual anecdote for a park is if you have a valuable tree with a moderate reisk of failure that has a picnic table under it, you might move the table and not mow under it to reduce public use in the area. Thus removing the target.

If the tree is over a playground then the target value spikes and removal should be recomended.

If it is in a wild area, then we may even make cuts to cause voids that will become nesting places.

If it is just deadwood in the tree, then we can do a hazard reduction pruning by removing those peices .75 and graeter, or one inch....

Lastly, since we are service companies, it is a oportunity to particapate in the American Dream; making money at something you enjoy doing.


jps
 
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<James Causton>
posted
Reply to post by Mike Ellison, on May 24, 2000 at 16:47:59:

All depends on location of the trees, in an un-natural setting, eg.lawn, street, developed park etc; deadwood becomes a problem due to concerns regarding safety issues, disease / insect pest habitat and aesthetics. In those situations removal of deadwood can be over done and exploited as a great "cash cow". The same tree(s) in a natural setting or low use area are valued and appraised using a different set of criteria and probably are "milked" less frequently.
 
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<mike ellison>
posted
Reply to post by James Causton, on May 24, 2000 at 16:47:59:

With the obvious exception of hazard abatement, is milking the "cash cow" the common perception of deadwood removal? Or, is the Shigo concept of "giving the tree a shower" to remove a food source from which fungi could spread into living branches/stems generally accepted as good practice?

I question the concept of deadwood removal for hygiene and consider it fundamentally flawed if we accept that trees and other woody perennials have evolved to their current forms through natural selection. The trees natural environment, with all it's constituent parts, has selected out the fittest and will continue to do so. By removing deadwood, not only from the tree but also from it's environment, are we not removing yet another element from the system.

In the UK, the current marketing strategy of household detergent manufacturers is to instil in the public a fear of bacteria. Almost every domestic cleaning product has an anti-bacterial label. If you wipe your kitchen surfaces with nothing more than a clean, soapy cloth, you will retain low levels of normally harmless bacteria on the surfaces. Kitchen surfaces are a battleground of microorganisms. Introduce Salmonella to the surface from say a piece of uncooked chicken and the surface remains a battleground. Introduce the same bacteria to a recently sterile but not necessarily clean surface and the Salmonella rapidly colonises the surface. This may be a very simplistic analogy but it demonstrates my point, which is that trees need the diversity of microorganisms that deadwood and leaf litter support.

Mike Ellison
 
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<Scott Cullen>
posted
Reply to post by Mike Ellison, on May 26, 2000 at 14:20:40:

Mike,

I was getting out of the contracting end of this business just around the time the Shigo theories were becoming main stream, so I can't tell you the real motivations or rationalizations today. I do know that the "culture" of deadwood pruning was established long before that and it was mostly an aesthetic, or ornametal "neat and tidy" thing. Yes it was a commercial opportunity, but meeting a demand. The good companies were not selling or overselling routine livewood thing, topping and so forth which would really have been milking the cash cow. even if there's a belief (valid or not) today about eliminating the food source for decay fungi, I'd guess the biggest reason (by volume of work done) is for appearance, followed by safety (at least in the affluent, intensive tree care kinds of markets).
 
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<brahminmon>
posted
Reply to post by Scott Cullen, on May 26, 2000 at 19:05:53:

earn while you learn
 
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<nikhila>
posted
Reply to post by Scott Cullen, on May 26, 2000 at 19:05:53:

dsfdsxfd
 
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