state champion tree splitting

Asked October 25, 2013, 11:25 AM EDT

I am a teacher in Bismarck, and a former NDSU Horticulture grad. One of my colleagues lives a block away and her back yard contains the state certified largest hackberry. It's an impressive specimen. It has developed a significant split about 20 feet up. I don't believe it would survive a strong wind. A local tree pruning company has suggested bolting, and that would probably do the trick for now. But I have been up in that tree, and the crotch where the split is has a rotten spot in it. I am thinking maybe that branch, even though it's a larger one, might be better removed. How does one determine bolting vs.pruning in a case such as this?
Kim Schultz

Burleigh County North Dakota

1 Response

Hi Kim,

The first consideration is whether there would be personal injury or property damage if the branch dropped. If yes, then we need go address the situation promptly. In your case, it sounds like we need to take action.

I would recommend getting a tree care professional out there. The homeowner did that. It certainly would not hurt to get a second opinion. If you are in the city, I would call the City Forester Jackson Bird. If you are in the county, you can call me.

There are no guarantees in this situation. To be on the safe side, the branch could be removed. This would especially we called for when there is a risk of significant damage to people or property if the branch drops.

If bolted, we still want to make sure the rain will run away from, and not collect in the crotch.

Do you see any conks (fungal shelfs) coming out of the trunk? Any dieback from the upper limbs? These can all be factors used to assess the level of internal damage in the trunk.

Give Jackson or myself a call. Or call another tree care professional. You can also e-mail me photos of this situation, if you wish.