This large Beech tree in Watlington had become unsafe and dangerous. We used a crane to dismantle the tree in sections, often know as sectional felling.  We had inspected the tree as part of a tree safety inspection for the site owner. We found the decay fungus Kretzschmaria deusta around the base of the trunk and soundings with a wooden mallet indicated that the quality of the timber was compromised over much of the cross sectional area of the stem close to ground level.  The tree was fully mature, around 26 metres in height and situated close to a car park with buildings near by.

This fungus often results in a sudden brittle fracture or ceramic fracture. Clearly if a tree of this size were to fall the risk to life and property would be considerable.  Tree surgery to make the tree safe is not an option and felling to ground level is the only sensible course of action.

The photos above show our lead climber James Jeffery taking out the top of the tree in a couple of large sections. The crane swings the pieces away and lowers everything to the ground – safe and efficient.

This process is repeated until the whole tree is down to ground level. These larger sections weigh close to one ton. 

As James gets closer to ground he uses the MEWP to work from which is safer and easier.

When the final cut is made it is possible to see clearly the condition of the stem at the point of decay.  This cross section shows the extent of the decay with a large central rot pocket that opens up into a large void below ground. The remaining cross section is discoloured and marked with ‘zone lines’ that indicate the advance of the fugus as it penetrates the cells of the wood and destroys the structural integrity of the timber.

A very necessary job done well!