This particular cedar tree had three co-dominant leaders. Cedars usually have a single dominant leader.
Over the years as the tree grew, the leaders became heavier, and a crack developed. The crack grew deeper due to included bark. Included bark is bark embedded between the leaders and the trunk. Embedded bark prevents formation of a branch bark ridge. The result was a weak union of the leaders to the trunk.
As Andy and Jim were walking in the glen, they heard a loud crack. When they investigated, they saw the crack and realized that the cedar was seriously compromised. They shut down the access road and visitor’s path.
Andy immediately called Westerlund Tree Service. Jon Westerlund’s company specializes in safing dangerous trees.
The timeline was as follows:
The picture below is of the cedar as we left it on Thursday afternoon. Note that the leaders are leaning away from each other. We knew it would not take much – maybe just wind loads – to cause complete failure.
When we came back Friday morning we were relieved to see that the tree had not failed. Jon determined that the tree would be safe to climb if the gaps between the leaders could be stabilized.
Friday morning was calm. This was important for Jon’s climbers, who could not work safely if there was any wind. Jon’s climbers proceeded to secure the leaders with a chain and chain clamp. In the photo below, you can see how the chain kept the leaders from spreading.
They then rigged a brace system using lines to the ground to draw the leaders together. The picture below was taken Friday morning, after they had placed the brace and cranked the leaders in.
Below, the leaders have been secured with a chain and the brace has been rigged. The tree is now safe, and the climbers have partially de-limbed it.
This photo shows how the bracing has been cranked taut from ground level:
The brace solved the tree safety problem. The top photo is of the tree before any remediation has been done. The bottom photo is after the brace has been rigged and cranked taut. When you compare the photos, you’ll see that the original crack is now closed, and the lines which activate the brace are taut.
Now, with the tree secure and de-limbed, the climbers can safely reduce the leaders by successively cutting short pieces off, as seen above.
-Jim Allen, Gardener
-Ken Little, Arborist
-Andy Navage, Director of Horticulture
Contractor: Westerlund Wood & Tree Service
-Ben Fejeran, Climber
-Ikaika Rodrigues, Climber
-Jon Westerlund, Owner