Davey Resource Group, Inc. (DRG) used a supersonic airtool to examine the tree root system and diagnose the cause of decline for a memorial tree located in Shrewsbury, MA.
DRG Massachusetts’ office was contacted to assess a memorial tree that was in decline at the Shrewsbury Library. At the time of inspection, the tree was in critical condition with an estimated 85% of its canopy dead and we unfortunately had to recommend removal. We then recommended a soil test of the site to determine if there were any underlying issues that might impact the health of a replacement tree. During the soil sample collection, we noticed that the soil was highly compacted, and the client informed us that there had been some construction on the library about five years ago.
We used the removal of the deceased tree as an opportunity to document and showcase the unique benefits of using a supersonic airtool (SSAT). The use of an airtool enables arborists to safely uncover a tree’s roots by blowing the soil away from the roots, as opposed to having to use mechanical means of excavation. In this instance, the SSAT paired with a soil compaction test, helped prove that the root system had failed where the soil compaction (due to previous construction) was highest.
In the course of the examination, structural roots were determined to have been improperly cut approximately three feet from the trunk. Given the size of the tree, severing of roots at this distance likely led to the significant decline and destabilization of the tree. Additionally, an approximate 13 inches of soil had been added to the top of the root flare—effectively starving those roots of much needed oxygen and increasing the risk of introducing secondary pathogens.