2 of 3 trunks dead on a white birch #186236 - Ask Extension

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2 of 3 trunks dead on a white birch #186236

Asked May 28, 2014, 6:48 PM EDT

I am getting close to completion on the construction of a new home on a lot near the river in Moorhead.  The previous home was built in the early 90's and was removed as part of Moorhead's flood control buy-out program.  After the construction of the dike the city resold several lots and mine is one of these.  The lot has many trees, with several ornamental trees including a white birch tree with 3 trunks.  I assume it was planted at the time the original house was built as it is fairly large and mature.  However, it now appears only 1 of the 3 trunks is thriving.  One trunk has obviously been dead for some time as there are no branches on it.  I am certain the second dead trunk had leaves last year, but it is not budding this spring.

The new driveway has ended up very close to the tree (less than 2 feet from the edge of the concrete) and the tree roots were dug up on that side of the tree in order to pour the driveway (which was done just 2 days ago).  Over the course of construction, some branches of the tree were broken by the excavators/dump trunks.

My question is, should I attempt to keep the tree with a single healthy trunk or would it be wise to remove it now before final landscaping when it would be easy to pull the stump?  I would prefer to keep the tree, but it doesn't seem like a viable option.

I appreciate any help you can provide.

Clay County Minnesota

Expert Response

  It is best to hire a MSA/ISA certified consulting arborist to examine and prune the dead wood from the trees.  He has the education and experience to advice you about any insect, disease or structural problems. Cutting roots for any reason under existing trees can severely damage the tree. Cutting roots close to the trunk are responsible for holding up the tree and cutting them can cause tree failure a decade or more later. Driving vehicles or storing supplies under the canopy compacts soil that can cause severe tree health issues. Vehicles diving over the soil damage and break vital surface roots.   Many large trees in urban areas are killed when broken sidewalks are repaired.  Tree roots may lead lift and crack your pavement.   http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/protecting-trees-from-construction-damage/#hiring-a-specialist   http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/how-to-hire-a-professional-arborist/

You may also want him evaluate all the trees on the property for structural defects.     
Pat Mack Replied May 29, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

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