Oak Tree lost giant limb?? Is it the weather?

angiebyteJuly 18, 2011

As I was sitting here looking out my window, a huge tree limb fell off of one of my tall oaks out back! It is a healthy tree, residing in a ravine of woods. The ravine gets alot of water and stays moist, even in this heat and drought, most all of the trees back there are just beginning to show the yellow leaves that are occuring all over my town.

What would cause the limb to break off and fall like that? Could it be lack of water, the hot weather? The leaves are green and glossy. It shows no sign of disease....

Any one know?



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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Hi Angie,

There's a good possibility that it is related to the weather, but even though summer branch drop or summer limb failure has long been known to occur, tree experts still have not reached a concensus on exactly why it occurs.

One school of thought is that it is the high flow of moisture through the limb that weakens it....not necessarily a lack of moisture. Rather than resulting from a lack of moisture, it results from all the work the tree's vascular system does to transport enough water throughout the tree to equal the amount of moisture lost to transpiration. Another possible cause is that prior root damage from years before may ultimately lead to summer branch failure, or that it is related to cellulose tissue problems within the limb.

Summer branch failure is most common on large, strongly horizontal limbs, but has been observed on vertical limbs as well. It is observed on some types of trees more than others. A few of the trees we have here in Oklahoma that exhibit summer branch failure more than others include oaks, sycamores, maples and ornamental pears.

There's really nothing you can do about it. It is just one of those things that sometimes happen.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 6:29PM
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