50+ year old Oak Tree Suddenly appears dying

garden_grammie(SE Pa.)June 14, 2005

A beautiful Oak tree that Is at least 50 years old seems to be drying up and dying.

All the leaves are turning brown and look dead. This tree is at least 100 ft tall and located on the front of my lawn.

I just noticed it yesterday. No leaves have fallen, that is why it was such a shock to see this. I have other trees, 2 maples, beech, tulip and numerous dogwood that look perfectly fine.

I have a tree man coming in hopefully today to look at it.

Any ideas what the problem could be?

How upsetting!

Any feed back would be greatly appreciated.

We live outside Philadelphia in Chester County. I have another huge oak in the backyard that looks perfectly healthy.

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Kathy46(Z6 Pa)

I too have a lovely old oak in Delaware County.

We lost 2 tulip polars several years ago because carpenter ants infested them. I hope you can save it. I would be heartbroken to lose my oak. Have you checked with an arborist ?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 11:47AM
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We took down a huge red oak last year, both my wife I cried the day they came with the chainsaws. The tree had a fungal infection, which was confirmed by sending the fruiting bodies, those "mushrooms" that were growing around the base of the tree, to a lab for analysis. Usually, a fungal attack kills a tree from the inside out and can take years and years to occur. What you have to remember is that trees distribute water and food through their outermost layers of trunk, the phloem and xylum. What that means is that a tree can look perfectly fine on the outside, while the inside is all but gone. And this makes for a dangerous situation. It's what arborists call a "hazard tree."

A word of caution - be careful about whatever "tree man" you use. Some are very knowledgable, while others are just guys with a chainsaw and a truck. We had several certified arborists examine our tree, and what we found was that fixing it was very expensive, and came with no guarantee. We were told that if this tree fell on our house, it would destroy the attic and pretty much all of the second floor. Not a very comforting thought. They all seemed to favor taking it down to be 100% safe, and so we did.

Sorry to lay out what might be too much info here, but we went through the process over the last couple years, this was after what was deemed a healthy white ash blew down in a thunderstorm and destroyed a brand new vehicle. Please understand that we are big tree lovers. However, we have also come to realize that some trees, meaning big trees with problems, are very, very dangerous. The link attached might be of help.

One final thought. It's often said that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, and I've come to believe that. I took an arborculture course a few years ago, and that's when I started looking at trees, all trees, with an element of respect and fear. Good luck, please let us hear what happens.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hazard Trees

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 12:06PM
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Kathy46(Z6 Pa)


That was a great article ...Thanks

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 4:44PM
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garden_grammie(SE Pa.)

Thanks so much Sween for the info.
The tree man is one in the neighborhood that we have used in the past.
I will let you know what happens.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 5:48PM
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You're all more than welcome. Sorry for repeating myself here, but I have to again stress that we are very much pro-tree. It's just that we've learned the hard way that you cannot peacefully (and safely) co-exist with all trees. I guess we also need to remember that no tree lives forever. Despite that, you might find it interesting that we have several silver maples in our neighborhood that arborists claim date back to Revolutionary times. These trees are so enormous that, should one of them come down in a storm, it's frightening to think the damage they'd do.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 6:05PM
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garden_grammie(SE Pa.)

The tree man was just here and he said bores have gotten into the tree as well as carpenter ants. Before he cuts down the tree he has to kill the bugs so they don't go to my other trees. He said if he doesn't kill the queen the insects would just move on to my dogwoods and poplars. What a mess!!! I am sure this is going to cost a pretty penny but I have to make sure I don't lose any other trees.
He also looked at my grass and told me I have grubs! I put down Grubex in April, but he said I should now make an application of Scotts Step Three. It seems to be a bumper ear for bugs!!!!!!! Ugh!!!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 8:50PM
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shadylady_pa(Z6 PA)

Oh, that's too bad. I'm glad you posted this because I just realized yesterday that one of our dogwoods is dead except for one limb. I am really upset. And my father was here a few weeks ago and told me he thought one of our Oaks looked like it was dying. I kind of brushed it off, but now I think maybe we need to get a tree person out here. I wish I had the money to do so!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 10:41PM
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Ours is also old ,big.Lightening struck ours about 10 years ago its dying slowly.We had tree expert out he said it will die now.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 10:51PM
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aka_peggy(Central Md 6b)

Be aware of "sudden oak death."

Here is a link that might be useful: SOD

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 11:48PM
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garden_grammie(SE Pa.)

Thanks so much for the link to SOD. I will carefully read the articles posted. I had at first thought of Sudden Oak Death but the articles made me think it was just on the west coast. I hope it is not that disease. It would be horrific to have all are beautiful oak trees in danger.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 10:02AM
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