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Cedar Elm–a great tree, but prone to splitting

April 4, 2017 by Scott

The Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia) is a great tree for Denton County.  It is native and lives well with the other two common native trees – Post Oak (Quercus stellata) and Blackjack Oak (Quercus marilandica).  It is drought tolerant and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions.  At maturity, it is a good medium sized crown (sometimes large) and it fits well in smaller yards.  Below is a nice specimen in the front of a house in Flower Mound.  The picture was taken today, 4/4/2017 after the harsh storms of last week.

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What is not noticeable about this tree is that the homeowner almost lost it in the storm.   The crown has two co-dominant stems with very acute attachment angles.  This is a very week union and the tree split in the storm, but neither limb failed completely.  The Tree Shepherds crew was able to brace the tree today with three bracing rods and pull the limbs back together.  The tree will continue to thrive.

Cedar elms are very prone to this type of structure and to splitting at the union of co-dominant limbs as the trees get larger.  Please inspect your trees, or call Tree Shepherds for an Arborist Consultation to do the inspection and make recommendations.   You can do the bracing yourself, although it does take special drill bit equipment.  Tree Shepherds uses 3/4” galvanized threaded rod put through the joint and secure with oversized washers and nuts.  The holes are drilled using a 13/16” ships auger bit.   Placement of the rods is one at ~8” above the union, one at the union, and one below the union.  Depending on the size of the tree, only two may be required.

Below are pictures of the above tree showing the placement of the bracing rods.

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