Dead Tree

Asked December 15, 2013, 12:03 AM EST

We requested our telephone company to tighten the loosely hanging lines crossing over our front yard. About 5 or 6 years ago, a technician came to do the job. He tightened up the lines by nailing on one of our trees in our front yard. We did not realize the tree was dead until a tree service man stopped by and offered us to cut down the tree. DID THE NAILS KILL THE TREE? I would appreciate your advice. Did the nails kill the tree?

Essex County New Jersey

1 Response

I would like to see the tree and the environment in which it is growing before giving a good answer on this. However, it is unlikely that the nail, acting alone, caused the tree to die. It depends on how many nails and what if anything else was tied to the tree or around the tree. As trees grow, they grow over and around objects that are nailed or tied to them. This creates a wound. But if other objects are involved like wire, it could destroy or cut off more of the cambium layer as the tree grows over the objects. Many factors likely aided in the death of your tree. Such as compacted soils, and poor root growing conditions, and extreme weather too wet or too dry. But no one can really say what caused the tree to die without looking at the tree and its growing conditions.

The person who offered to cut down your tree may be able to tell you what they think led to the tree death. A certified arborist could likely look at your tree and give you an answer or check with your local Extension office.