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Tree question

Discussion in 'Personal' started by lindenlea, Nov 15, 2015.

  1. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    We have a silver birch tree that is shedding twigs and small branches onto our drive and husband is anxious about his new car. We have engaged someone to take some off the height and tidy up its shape. We are now thinking we might as well take the whole thing out as it is quite cankerous (real word??) and not a healthy specimen so might well need to come out in a couple of years anyway. It's not really a thing of beauty.
    Any thoughts about how long will it be before, or indeed if at all, we can plant something else in its place.
  2. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

    lindenlea likes this.
  3. teachingking123

    teachingking123 Established commenter

    I like trees.:D
  4. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Birches very rarely grow back although they will from seed,. They dislike limbs being chopped of as cancer quickly gets into the cut joints and they are prone in my experience to just die on you.
    You can cut it down and if you so wish replant straight away if you can find a space int he ground.make sure you Incorporated some good garden compost in the soil and water well.
    They quickly fill scrub land so they must be quite tough in the choices of places they like to grow.
    marlin likes this.
  5. cosmosinfrance

    cosmosinfrance Star commenter

    The tree will have taken a good deal of nutrients from the soil during its lifetime so I would be inclined to dig in plenty of organic matter and leave until the spring before replanting.
    lindenlea and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Silver birch tend to produce shallow roots that spread out over a large area. The rule is that the extent of a tree's main root system extends out to what is known as the dripline. If you dropped a line straight down from the most outer edge of the canopy, that is the drip line.

    If you are planning to plant another tree, you should get rid of as much of the old root system as you can.

    See if you can offset the cost by selling the tree for firewood rather than paying to have it taken away. Many people have invested in wood burners in recent years.
    marlin, lindenlea and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  7. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Do some research before replanting. Evergreens will drop dust and bits and probably fir-cones all year round, plus it will have birds in it which will undoubtedly decorate the car too.

    Some trees drop a lot of pollen, or have very sappy leaves which mean you will have to clean the car a lot more because you end up with tiny droplets of sticky sap on the car. And some decorative trees, like flowering cherries, mean your car covered with petals.

    This is an opportunity to decide on height, spread and whether you want flowers, berries, cones, prickles or whatever for the replacment, so take time for the research.
    marlin, lindenlea and nomad like this.
  8. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    I was just going to post that @monicabilongame knows forestry stuff, but it looks like she is already on the ball.
    lindenlea and monicabilongame like this.
  9. cosmosinfrance

    cosmosinfrance Star commenter

    I wouldn't replant another tree. Any tree will cause problems to a man anxious about his new car. Have you considered a shrub instead linden? There are so many to choose from!
  10. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    You do need to do a quick check with the local council to see if there isn't a preservation order on the tree. Chances are there isn't but it is worthwhile to save issues later. The other issues are birds nesting (I had to wait for this once) and bats.

    Use a qualified tree surgeon (not much more than the cowboys) and they will do a neat job quickly and safely.
  11. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    We've already spoken to a tree surgeon - he called himself an arborist, when we were thinking of just having it trimmed back. Olds - I think the previous owners cut the branches back over the driveand that's where the canker got in - so what you say adds up to me. We won't plant another silver birch and we are considering a shrub cosmos. Monica - all those warnings are very useful and just the sort of thing we need to consider. irs - we have large trees around that have TPOs on but this one is relatively young and not huge and I doubt it has an order on it. cosmos - the idea of enriching the soil was in the back of my mind too. Nomad, your point about the roots is also a concern. The grass is very poor under the tree and the shallow roots are causing this I think, as well as shade of course so its another reason to go for an evergreen shrub.

    You're brilliant you lot - many thanks!
  12. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

  13. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Trees can be taken down even if they have TPOs on them, if they are dangerous, but you have to get permission. @cosmosinfrance suggestion of a shrub is a good one - without knowing the layout of your property and where other trees were etc., it's difficult to advise specifics. One thing I would say and that is that, at least with a large/well established tree close to your house, if you cut it down you might get 'heave' as the water in the soil is not being taken up by the tree any longer. However if it's a not-too-tall birch and you have other trees around this is less likely to be a problem. You can get shrubs that are bird-friendly, producing lots of lovely berries. I'd say take down the tree, flog the wood, enjoy the extra light in the windows, and leave it for a year because if you do want to replant you will need to feed the soil, check there's no problems with heave, and also because this time of year is the best time to plant trees.
    marlin and lindenlea like this.
  14. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    We need double likes!
  15. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    Go for the Welsh alternative and lay tarmac.
  16. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    Silver birch roots dont usually cause a lot of problems which is why they are often planted.The wood could be sold/given to a wood carver/turner as they like birch wood to work with.........or you can burn it but its sucha shame as it has a nice texture,
    I used to love cutting down birches in my days as a tree surgeon they where easy to do!.Sooner than monkey puzzle tree.Did one once but never again.
    monicabilongame, lindenlea and marlin like this.
  17. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Give a thought for the squirrels before cutting trees down.
  18. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Nuts to the squirrels!
    marlin and monicabilongame like this.
  19. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Oh don't you worry about them.:) We have tall trees at the end of our row of houses and at this time of year we get to see them clearly again running through the branches. I know they're a pest but I have a soft spot for them.
    marlin likes this.
  20. jacob

    jacob Lead commenter

    There is a fungus, I think one of the Armilleria species, that may be attacking it if it is "cankerous". The one I am thinking of is commonly known as "bootlace" fungus as it spreads by underground rhizomes that look like bootlaces! It is very invasive and damaging to trees of many species. This is a worst case scenario. Silver birches associate with a few benign symbiotic fungi, notably Fly Agaric (the red spotted pixie one). From what I know of silver birches their lifespan is only about 80 to 100 years, so it may have just reached the end of its life and be entering senescence. Getting it removed sounds good. I wouldn't plant anything immediately, and it depends whether you are leaving the stump in or not.

    (I used to teach this stuff to Biology degree students)
    lindenlea likes this.

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