Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hollow tree, broken in a thunderstorm

Hollow trees should not be filled with concrete.


This huge old maple tree has probably been hollow for many years. Fungi gained access to the heartwood through a wound, and rot set in. Nevertheless, the tree attained an impressive girth and height.

I don't know if the homeowners were aware of the hollow in the tree and its potential to cause damage. They were certainly fortunate that it didn't fall on their house or vehicle. It did fall onto the highway, but luckily no cars were passing at the time.

We didn't have very much wind or rain the day this tree broke, but it was enough to bring the old tree down. I know the homeowners will miss it terribly.

Just for the record, don't ever let anyone talk you into pouring concrete into a hollow tree. When the tree does eventually die and it must be removed, how can you cut up a concrete-filled tree with a chain saw? And besides that, the cement will chafe inside the cavity as the tree moves in the wind. It can accelerate the decay and seriously injure the tree.

Read more -- Tree Cavities: To Fill or Not To Fill

1 comments -- please add yours:

JLB said...

I have never heard of pouring concrete into a hollow tree... but it certainly wouldn't be my first instinct! ;)

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Enrich your life with the study of trees.

"The power to recognize trees at a glance without examining their leaves or flowers or fruit as they are seen, for example, from the car-window during a railroad journey, can only be acquired by studying them as they grow under all possible conditions over wide areas of territory. Such an attainment may not have much practical value, but once acquired it gives to the possessor a good deal of pleasure which is denied to less fortunate travelers."

Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927)

Print references I frequently consult

Benvie, Sam. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Ed. Herbert S. Zim. New York: Golden, 1986.

Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980.

Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. Knowing Your Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978.

Dirr, Michael. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portland, Or.: Timber, 1997.

Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980.

Grimm, William Carey. The Book of Trees;. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962.

Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. New York: Chanticleer, 1996.

Martin, Alexander C., Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife and Plants. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951.

Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. The Trees of North America. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987.

Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969.

Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. Trees of Missouri. Columbia: University Extension, 1995.

Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Portland: Timber, 2004.

Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973.

Wyman, Donald. Trees for American Gardens. New York: Macmillan, 1965.

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