Assessing wound-induced response growth in two common urban tree species

2015 | Dr. Jason Miesbauer, The Morton Arboretum and Dr. Andrew Koeser, University of Florida

Healthy trees are able to alter the physical qualities and amount of new wood produced in order to compensate for forces placed on branches, trunks, or roots. Current industry Best Management Practices and Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (TRAQ) training materials highlight the importance of response growth as a potential indicator of both tree weakness and compensation for that weakness. Despite an emphasis placed on this latter role, both references acknowledge that the industry has few guidelines for evaluating the impact response growth in compensating for structural defects such as injury and decay. This project will build on past research, assessing trunk strength for live oak (Quercus virginiana) and pin oak (Quercus palustris) trees intentionally wounded at various levels. Trees will be left to respond to the intentional wounding inflicted upon them. The progression of decay, wound response, and their impact on mechanical strength will be measured with time over a 5 year period. Results will be used to better inform risk assessments which follow the ISA Tree Risk BMP/Tree Risk Assessment Qualification recommendations.