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jllj
Damaged Tree

I just had a new fence installed and the workers took it upon themselves to take a large chunk out of my neighbor's tree in order to keep our fence line straight (which, it isn't, by the way). I am concerned about the tree because we had another tree taken down and the arborist told us that to grind the stump of the damaged tree alone would be $1200... so I am very interested in keeping the tree healthy right now. Is there a product that I can purchase to seal the exposed trunk in order to prevent decay and damage to the tree from insects, etc? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

A. Spruce
Re: Damaged Tree

The health of the tree will depend on it's type, size, and resistance to infection/pests. Your fence guys were idiots and can probably be held liable for the damage, removal, and replacement costs of the tree. If it is a mature tree, that is usually taken into account as well (by the mediating authority).

jllj
Re: Damaged Tree

Thanks, I haven't even gotten the guy who sold me the fence to call back yet! But, in the meantime, can you think of anything that I can do to prevent further damage to the tree? It is a huge tree. It has three trunks and at the base it is probably 4 to 5 feet in diameter. I'm pretty sure its a tulip tree.

dj1
Re: Damaged Tree
jllj wrote:

Thanks, I haven't even gotten the guy who sold me the fence to call back yet! But, in the meantime, can you think of anything that I can do to prevent further damage to the tree? It is a huge tree. It has three trunks and at the base it is probably 4 to 5 feet in diameter. I'm pretty sure its a tulip tree.

And I suspect that if the tree dies and your neighbor sues you, you won't be able to track your fence guy. Gone.

jllj
Re: Damaged Tree

Ok... so, I was looking for advice about my tree from people who know about trees, if possible. Lawyers and cynics need not reply. Thanks.

A. Spruce
Re: Damaged Tree

At this point about all you can do is consult with an arborist who can physically inspect the tree and offer some advice.

It also unfortunate that you don't want to hear that your fence guys were idiots and should be held accountable for their stupidity. :rolleyes:

keith3267
Re: Damaged Tree

There has been some controversy over this in the last few years. There are products available at your local nursery like Tree Wound Repair that were commonly used in the past. These are used less today as the current theory is that nature will take care of the tree better than any of these products.

The best course might be to smooth up the damage with a chain saw so there is less surface to attract problems. Then let nature take its course. If the damage is limited to the bark, then leave it alone.

If you are concerned about any liability here, you will have to see a lawyer. As a general rule, if the damage is limited to the parts of the tree on your property, then you are not liable for the damage, but if the damage leads to the death of the tree, and it falls over in your yard and damages your property, your neighbor wont be liable either. I'm sure the fence company is liable for their actions though, but that might depend on what is in the contract you have with them. again, if this is a concern, you will need to talk with someone that is qualified to advise, I'm not that person.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Damaged Tree

While dj1's post is a little caustic it is to the point. I have been told by arborist that is better to let a tree heal itself. You might want to have an arborist look at the damgae as it may need to be cleaned up.

Jack

dj1
Re: Damaged Tree

jllj,

Sorry to sound so rough, but welcome to the litigious world of real eastate, where lawyers are snooping around like sharks, looking to create cases. Believe me, I've delt with lawyers, no, you don't want them around you. That's the reality we live in.

Just look at simple cases between neighbors in small claim courts. They sue for everything. A lawsuit can come your way, out of the blue, any minute, any day. Even if you are not guilty, you still have to spend time and money to defend yourself and to prove that you're not guilty. And when you win, nobody will usually compensate you for all you're out.

BTW, was the fence contractor licensed and bonded?

jllj
Re: Damaged Tree

I understand, dj1, however I am not interested in suing the fence contractor or fighting with my neighbor to the point where they would sue me. Honestly, I'd pay to take a dead tree down if a contractor I hired caused damage to it and refused to fix it themselves. It would suck because its so expensive, but I think it would be the right thing to do.

The fence company is licensed and has been in business in New Jersey for 85 years. And, after I called again this morning the guy came out and took a look at the fence and said he would fix the crookedness. He also told me that an arborist that has spoken to in the past thinks what they did is ok because they did not cut into the rings of the tree.... just part of the root that was above ground. Is this the case? I mentioned my concern about carpenter ants and he didn't seem to really have an answer. I thought this is what the sprays would take care of. However, according to Keith, it seems that the benefits from the sprays are debatable? How long should it take for the tree to heal itself on its own? The wedge that he took out of the tree probably measured about 4 inches at the bottom, however as I mentioned before, the bottom of this tree's trunk is about 4 feet in diameter.

keith3267
Re: Damaged Tree

If you are looking for visible evidence that it has healed, it may be hard to see at first. The bark around the wound will swell up and kind of cap itself off, but the wood will still be exposed. When you see the edges of the woond swell up, then, since this is so close to the ground, I would paint the exposed wood with any good quality paint. In fact, I would start with an oil based primer, then a good latex over that.

In the meantime, mix a little boric acid (roach powder) in with some hot water and when it cools, cover the wood with it. This will delay any rot and discourage any insect activity while the wound heals.

Judging by the new information, I don't think this tree is in any immediate danger from this incident.

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