East Bay arborists assessing waterlogged trees after storm

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PLEASANT HILL — A quick look at this raywood ash in Pleasant Hill — and, arborist Steven Duncan has some concerns.

“Look at the root crown, and look for anything abnormal,” said Duncan, an arborist at Atlas Tree Service.

In this case, the base of the tree appears to be weakened.

“This is a root, these are roots, and you see how the trunk is growing over it. So, it’s partially strangling the trunk itself, and cutting off some of its ability,” said Duncan. “But, overall, this is really not bad, but it is something to notice.”

Duncan, who has worked for Atlas Tree Service going on 20 years now, says a constricted trunk, prevents the tree from soaking in the water and nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

“The other thing you look at is this seam, and if you go up — you see those seams. Sometimes branches want to split right along those seams,” Duncan said.

Any significant wind — and the branches could possibly split. “We got a dead cottonwood tree — that’s a common name,” said Alex Llamas, with sexytrees.com.

Down the street, llamas spotted a perilous tree behind a shopping center and near a freeway exit.

“The way you can particularly tell this this tree is dead, is the bark is just peeling right off,” Llamas said. “The whole thing completely. Not just one area, and also, I can see that there hasn’t been any leaves on this guy and if I pull a twig, it breaks right off. That’s a good indication that the tree is dead.”

It’s inevitable when storms hit trees fall — and, sometimes even healthy looking trees may require a deeper look, which could reveal potential rotting underground.

Arborists can do light excavations or shoot sound waves through a tree to assess whether or not it’s experiencing decay.

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