Fire damage to trees

iamdouglasOctober 26, 2009

Hello to all. . .

I have a problem with some trees in my woodland caused by a reckless neighbor starting a trash fire which traveled into my property. Some 40ft. oak, maple, and pine were burnt around the bases. It's been about one and a half years now and I'm fretting over the condition of the trees. I know there is just so much that I can do. The bark is coming off in spots. . .that's the bad part. The good part is scabs of a sort are forming around the burnt parts that surround the area where the bark is coming off.

Should I be removing the dead bark? I've noticed that bugs are living under the dead bark and the tree isn't drying in those areas. Even on healthy trees there are spots around the base where I can chip bark off and under these spots I find insects like jointed hard backed worms. Shouldn't these spots be exposed so that they will dry up and the insects will go away?

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

I would consider getting an arborist out to look at the situation. Some of the trees may be doomed, and getting those removed might help get the area ready to be brought back on track. Snags can be good for wildlife and great in a completely natural setting, but they can be disadvantageous if they fall on a house, other personal property, or other trees. They can also be slightly discouraging to new replacement growth (which may also be a good thing in some cases).

Removing bark that's hanging loose probably isn't going to damage anything (especially in a shaded area). Be careful not to remove any good bark though.

Did you get any financial compensation from the neighbor (not that you could ever get what it's really worth)? I sure hope so, because that story is just sickening.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 3:12PM
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lycopus(z5 NY)

Have the trees managed to leaf out since the fire?. You can usually spot damage to part of the vascular system by the condition of the canopy. Many oaks are well-adapted to fire, but maples usually are not. Some pines are, though many just reseed after a fire.

If the vascular cambium is still intact under the bark, the tree should be able to recover. It is normal for the outer bark to come off over time. I would only remove bark that is loose.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 7:20PM
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Thank you for your responses.
Yes Brandon, I've contacted an attorney and an arborist when it first happened. The arborist came up with a $70,000 damage estimate including a 5 year reclamation program. I lost about an acre right in front of my house.

Lycopus. . . all saplings and understory growth was lost but the canopy trees came back the next spring after a year from the damage. They are disfigured at the bases and show signs of wood borer attacks. The arborist wants to do a complete spraying of the trees including the canopy but I hesitate for the blanket destruction to non-invasive beings.

I wonder if there is a herbicidal tape that is effective against borers?

    Bookmark   October 27, 2009 at 9:07PM
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ronkw(8b LA)

Better late than....
I've inadvertantly scorched/damaged a few hardwoods during some burns on my land. Just the type of damage you described. Generally, just a portion of the trunk. A year or two after the damage and the bark has peeled from that area, I mix up some Timbor in a spray bottle and 2-3 times a year/summer, I spend an hour and go around and spray/soak those spots. I can't tell you absoultely that this is effective (keeping the borers, fungus etc out), but it seems the wounds are not growing in size and the exposed wood is remaining sound. And it beats doing nothing.
Nothing to lose and you may keep a nice tree going.
Timbor is non-toxic, water soluable, boric acid basically.
it's made to treat lumber, but I had some on hand and started doing this. Google it, see what you think.

Here is a link that might be useful: timbor

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 7:25PM
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It's typically best to leave these types of jobs to professionals.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 5:11AM
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