Black Weeping Oak Tree...how bad is this?

grrloutloud(6A)March 30, 2011

So I moved into an apartment over the Winter where I'm allowed to garden (yay) and was out doing some prep work today when I noticed the oak tree on my back fence line looking not so excited about life. I've done a little research, but can't seem to pinpoint what might be going on here. It sort of looks like a few descriptions I've read of Sudden Oak Death, but I'm in Boston and that seems to be in CA and OR. Anyone more experienced have an idea what's going on here?

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pixie_lou

To me it looks like carpenter ants have taken up residence. Or else it's just the result of the trunk having been damaged in the past. I will say that it looks like your oak tree has some pretty harsh living conditions.

Is it just the trunk you are concerned about? Is the tree budding?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 8:26PM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

It's not Sudden Oak Death. That's a rapidly fatal disease that usually has a different appearance. The tree has some sort of canker that's bleeding. Given the size of the cavity in the tree, it has significant rot issues. I agree that it may have ant problems. It's an old tree especially for its living conditions. These things happen. It's hard to tell the extent of the damage from the picture. Usually if the tree is in trouble, large branches in the canopy will start dying and falling off in windstorms. At that point, the tree should be cut down if it's near a house or something of value that could be damaged or destroyed.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 8:55PM
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grrloutloud(6A)

The house was built in the 1890s and almost all of the trees on the property have been taken down already. This is one of very few left, I'm not sure if it's original or not. It's in full bud right now, I was definitely checking that out. So it looks like, at least for now, it's getting nutrients all over. It's back far enough that it wouldn't hit the house if it came down, but it would definitely pull down some power lines. I just don't know when it becomes a "bother the property owner" situation - I guess when branches start coming down?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 12:32AM
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