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We have a massive old oak tree to the rear of the house and a neighbour has kindly pointed out that it has "upper surface defects to one of the branches and subdivision and failure of upper surface union to another"
Can anyone advise if these are likley to be a problem for the health of the tree?
Should any action be taken and what should this be?
First thing to check is if there is a TPO for the tree. That will seriously constrain any work you might be thinking of doing and you need to contact the council before touching the tree. Next thing is what lies under the branches in question - would anyone be in danger if the branch falls.
You can get a 'Tree Surveyor' in, but this costs money. I have no idea how much. You can always enquire. They make a survey of the tree specifically with safety in mind.
You could get a tree surgeon in to do a site visit with a view to quoting on work that they feel could be done on the tree and they will likely tell you what they think of the tree and make suggestions. This site visit should be free. Tree surgeons will tell you though that they are not formal tree surveyors and that they are not insured to provide official safety advice. Also bear in mind that their advice may be biased by the fact that they could benefit financially from the work they tell you needs to be done on your tree. Also Steephill rightly said, the tree surgeons first question will be, "Is there a Tree Preservation Order on this tree?".
It may also be a good idea to pose your question to the Woodland Trust who may also be able to advise. Here's their website: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/
Best of luck - would be interested to hear what happens...
The Grateful Deadhead
One of our oak trees had a branch with rot on the upper side. The branch was 18 inches thick. We could not see the rot from below. A good tree surgeon checked the tree over, removing all dead and diseased wood, for 400quid. It took all day, and three men. We ended up with a large pile of shredding for mulching, a log pile for wildlife,and peace of mind. Both our oak trees have preservation orders on. That does not stop diseased wood being removed. It does stop healthy wood being removed.
The Major Oak in Sherwood Forest has stood for how many years? I can't remember. But in its lifetime it must have suffered the loss of hundreds of branches, large and small. It is still standing (just), propped up in several places but still officially a viable organism.
Your tree will survive this with ease if it is allowed to. Tree surgeons are a wonder to watch and the great thing is you don't need to call on them very often.