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RichSutherland

Beech Tree - Doesn't look good

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Hi All,

 

We are in the process of buying a house and there are some beautiful Beech trees out the front. Our surveyor said they could do with cutting back so I called a local tree surgeon to get a quote and a colleague of his was familiar with one of the trees and said it had an infection and would likely need to come down. It overhangs a main road and so we are keen to know where we stand before the sale completes and costs etc. 

 

We were really sad to hear this news as it is a beautiful old tree and it adds a lot of character to the house. I was wondering if there may be any way to save it - I've taken a picture, not sure if this is Beech Bark disease. Whatever it is can it spread to other trees nearby?

 

Any advice or information would be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

Rich

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You should get a report from a tree consultant really. Beech don’t respond well to reduction and they may not even need it. I do mortgage reports all the time where the valuation surveyor said they need reducing. More often than not they don’t. But then if there is a risk they may do. Get them looked at properly.  It is in your interests. 
 

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As Chris says above get a qualified consultant/arborist to take a look at the trees and provide some suitable recommendations depending on what is required, the targets around the trees and the likelihood of failure. Property surveyors love a bit of looping and topping on their reports. Just because the tree has an ‘infection’ doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to come down but it may need some remedial works to bring it within tolerable risk. The tree looks fairly mature by the looks of your pic, if mature trees need dismantling then it can be expensive depending on things such as access, targets, utilities, road closures etc etc although you say that it’s in the front of the property so mechanical advantage can play a part but I may be jumping the gun a bit! All in all you are doing the right thing by getting them looked at before completion as the works required could range from a simple cut back from the building and deadwood to a full on dismantle with a crane and road closure. A few hundred pounds on a tree report may pay dividends in the future and mean you can go into it with the information required. Maybe put up the location and somebody on here may be able to help or recommend a local consultant.

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Hi All,

 

Thanks so much for the responses! 

 

We know already cutting it back will be expensive, the money is a big factor but actually at the moment our biggest worry is that it indeed needs to be cut down at all - we really love it and feel that it adds a lot of character to the property (the house is actually called Beech House). It is a very mature tree, perhaps 20 meters tall and provides some lovely shade and privacy to the front. We'd be so sad to cut it down, but the concern is that someone has already looked at it and flagged it has an infection and so we're just very concerned now that not only are we likely to need to pay thousands to cut it down but it will also make the property a little worse in doing so. 

 

Does anyone recognise the disease from the images? We'll definitely keep investigating but it has both me and my wife quite sad this weekend and worried for the other large Beech tree 10-15 meters away from it. 

 

Thanks,
Rich

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Also sorry, just to clarify we're not concerned for the mortgage valuation - the surveyor who flagged it to us said it represented no danger to the house, but as it overhangs a public road it is dangerous. He didn't even know the tree had an infection which assuming it does from these images could compromise its strength?

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It maybe the case that the tree doesn’t require at all, least not removal. Difficult to see if it’s beech bark disease from the pics. BBD doesn’t always mean that the tree needs to be removed and only comes when the tree has extensive amounts. More often than not the damage of BBD is expedited by other factors such as drought, poor pruning,
root severance, stress etc. Trees often continue to co-exist with BBD for many years and can also recover from the disease if the site conditions are good, such as well mulched soil, access to water and nutrients etc. A concern maybe that if the tree is stressed or in poor health it would then be more susceptible to other fungi infections such as meripilus for example. With respect to the surveyor unless he is an arb professional saying that the tree represents no danger to the house is a very bold statement indeed. He also kind of contradicts himself my saying as it overhangs a road it is dangerous. If you have some better pics of the main stem and crown maybe pop them up but from what you’ve said about tree size, targets etc engaging a tree professional would be prudent.

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@RichSutherland I would get an arb report , and go from there . Not even sure what is the concern from that picture , but the tree will soon be in leaf which will give a clearer indication of health ( or otherwise ) deadwood is often a feature in mature trees - doesnt mean it will fall over ;) K

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Thanks all - this is making me think there is hope and that the tree doesn't actually need to come down. I'm attaching the only images I've got of the tree, the original images are quite high quality so you can zoom in but not sure if the upload will drop the quality. The surveyor thought it was no threat to the house because of the distance I suppose (at least not at present size). 

 

Forgive my ignorance - is an Arb report something special or is it just to have a tree surgeon look at it (as I've arranged for a tree surgeon to go look). If not a tree surgeon, who would I google to have one carried out?

 

Thanks!

Rich

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Think of the difference between an arb report and a tree surgeon having a look at it as similar to the difference between a surveyor and a builder having a look at a building. Both can probably tell you what needs doing to an extent, but they are not the same thing.

 

Do you know the tree surgeon you have asked to have a look at it well and have reason to trust them? If they are highly experienced and you have a good relationship then it might be what you need but bear in mind that a tree surgeon generally makes most money by doing most work, which could create a conflict of interest.

 

Whereabouts in the country is this? There may be some arb consultants on this site who are suitably located to help.

 

I should add, I am not a professional in this field but the only thing I can see that I would definitely do is remove the ivy, partly because I wouldn't want it going any further and partly because the lower down there are problems, the more significant they are likely to be and ivy on the trunk can hide a multitude of sins. I think it's a positive approach to want to retain large trees - so often people want to remove them or hack them back due to fear of what might happen, so buying a property, getting proper advice regarding options and enjoying the trees is a good thing!

 

Alec

Edited by agg221
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