Tree Decay Detection Testing

Are you in need of decay detection testing in your trees? Are you looking for more certainty about the condition of your trees, or those of your clients? Maybe the councils asked for this in support of the tree work application, may be as part of a planning application or perhaps it’s just because you want to look after an important tree or trees on your property and are concerned about the structural integrity.

Are you looking for an arboricultural consultant or a tree report to provide evidence on the structural condition of your trees?

Would you like someone to provide some decay detection testing to establish the extent of any decay in tree trunks or branches?

Do you require a tree report for insurance purposes to address tree decay or meet your insurance and duty of care requirements?

Play Video

If you are then you are in the right place.  We have many years of experience of using all different forms of this equipment.  We have produced reports of satisfied the requirements of various councils as well as the requirements of many developers, schools, colleges, hospitals as well as private landowners and charities.

We provide tree assessments and reports on all decay detection in tree matters.  This is something that we at Arbor Cultural Ltd. can undertake for you.

Decay detection testing equipment falls into 2 categories, non-invasive and invasive.  The non-invasive uses sound waves travelling through the wood (similar to an ultrasound), and invasive uses a 3mm diameter drill to measure resistance to drilling

We at Arbor Cultural Ltd have both types of equipment, as well as tree corers and Arbor Check chlorophyll fluorescence testers to measure trees vitality and stress levels.

Non-Invasive Testing

We use Arbotom sonic tomography which uses soundwaves to create a two-dimensional picture that shows zones of different sound-transmission properties. This indicates degrees of decay and the presence of any hollow spots. The advantage of this method is that it enables us to assess the level of decay without causing any damage to the tree. In addition, with the Arbotom software we can use the data we collect to calculate strength loss.

Invasive Testing

Invasive decay detection testing involves using a Resi 400 PD Micro Drill (also known as a Resistograph) to drill into the tree with a slow speed 3mm wood drill. As this enters the tree, it records the resistance of the timber, with lower resistance indicating softer or more decayed wood. If the device identifies significant decay, we can confirm this through trunk core sampling. This is the process of extracting a core sample of the tree which we inspect to determine the extent of decay and strength loss..

Traditional Treatment and Management

Traditionally at the first sign of decay fungal pathogen colonisation trees were felled, or at least heavily reduced. This was a safety first approach but as we learn more about fungal colonisation and the relationships between different tree species and different fungi species we are learning more about the often slow rate of decay and degradation.

The purpose of a heavy reduction was to reduce significantly the crown volume and more specifically the outer surface area. This greatly reduces the dynamic load on the tree in the form of movement as a result of wind speed.

Whilst this is all true the heavy reduction of a mature trees canopy will have a drastic impact on the physiological health of the tree. This is the leaf area of the tree that harvests the light energy and through the process of photosynthesis turns this into carbohydrates (sugars) which are available to the tree.

This energy supply has to be allocated to above and below-ground growth, reproduction, and resisting disease and decay. A significant loss of this leaf area will have a catastrophic effect on the ability of the tree to deal with the decay itself. This often leads to a spiral of decline

Possible Recommendations for Treatment and Management

Whilst tree surgery remains a management option and is still sometimes recommended, there are numerous other options to us as well now.

These include the removal reduction containment of a target in the form of people or property within striking distance of the tree, as well as various nonsurgical solutions.

This includes regular management and retesting to assess the spread of decay and the rate of spread. We can also recommend climbing inspections. These will be supervised by a consultant with a report submitted that he will be taking guidance from a professional tree climber who will inspect defects at height, possibly using a camera and decay detection testing equipment to help him express the condition of the tree.

We can also undertake chlorophyll fluorescence testing or chlorophyll content testing to assess the physiological health of the tree.

We are also able to offer various soil treatment options. This benefits the tree greatly by improving its routing environment. This is vital for the tree to obtain water and nutrients groups roots and to exchange these for the carbohydrates obtained by the leaves.

A compacted soil will often have poor water percolation for gases exchange capacity and limited nutrient availability. Improving any or all of these will greatly improve the trees chances of resisting or overcoming disease and decay organisms.

There are various methods available for treating the soil. These include the application of mulch, the application of soil ameliorates, and the decompaction of the soil.

We now have an air spade or compressed air lance that we can use to significantly decompact may soils. This can result in significant improvements on tree health and can be combined with the application of nutrients to the soil or possibly to the trunk.