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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Elm Tree Growth After Bad Pruning a Possible Liability

Q. Could you give some advice on this elm tree. It is about 40-45 years old. My father topped it (it is in SE Oregon).  I think it may need to be cut down, however if possible to improve it, that would be what I would like. The branches are so spindly I think they will break easily.  Also, any idea how much longer it can survive?
Elm tree in SE Oregon, probably Chinese elm.
A. Most of these remaining elm trees are Chinese elm and considered “trashed trees” as far as their landscape value in urban areas is concerned. Yours appears to be in a rural area. In rural areas, “trashed trees” can be still valuable.
            Your tree has grown back for several years from a bad pruning job so I would leave it alone. One of the big problems with bad pruning jobs is limb breakage because of how the tree grows back after bad cuts. This can be a liability problem.
            If you’ve had strong winds through there with no limb breakage then I would be less concerned. Otherwise, have a certified arborist come through and do an evaluation of the tree.
            Personally, I don’t think a tree like that’s worth it. If you have concerns about its looks or liability, I would have it removed and put in something else.

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