Hazardous street trees

Hazardous tree
Pin oak in decline at a busy intersection near power lines

Hazardous street trees can cause a huge amount of damage, including personal injury and property damage.  Here is an egregious example. This pin oak is at the intersection of Robin Road and Tates Creek Road. It is right next to the newly installed sidewalk and adjacent to a major power line.

The tree has been in decline for years due to bacterial leaf scorch, a vascular disease that infects many pin oaks in urban areas.  The tree has been dropping large dead branches for several years, and it is hard to believe that the property owner is entirely unaware that the tree is nearly dead.

Stem of declining pin oak
Declining pin oak with fruiting bodies of Biscogniauxia atropunctata

This tree has declined to the point that you can see the gray fruiting bodies of Biscogniauxia atropunctata.  In healthy trees, this fungus lives quietly and harmlessly in the bark. Once a tree begins to die, the fungus invades the phloem and sapwood and contributes to the trees quick death.

Should this tree fall, it could break the power lines or fall across one of the busiest streets in town. The tree needs to be removed before someone gets hurt.  Ultimately it is the property owner’s responsibility, but the danger is sufficient that the city and the utility may need to take action.

The sidewalks along Tates Creek were installed over the last couple of years and many trees were planted. This would have been a good time to assess the risks of the existing row of pin oaks along the road. It appears that this was not done.  All the pin oaks along this corridor are in decline because of leaf scorch, and should have been assessed and removed as part of the sidewalk and powerline project.  The cost of removing all these trees will now be much greater.