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P. O. Box 1287, Apex nc 27502

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Better Tree Care Associates

P.O. Box 1287, Apex NC 27502

(919) 387-7045


July 13 report first:

The June issue of Arbor Age promised an update on that historic Maclura pomifera tree in Illinois, US, so here it is! In 2009 contractors maneuvered their aerial lift to remove several large branches over Main Street. Pruning cuts were made to the branch collars, minimizing decay and speeding closure of the wounds. Over a ton of wood was taken out, and a lot of the “lever arm” in those limbs that once sprawled over the road. Step #1 in the preservation process, proper pruning storm-proofed the tree, improving its stability tremendously.

  1. June 24, 2010 the tree was subjected to wind forces up to 70 mph in a severe storm. It was inspected the next day, and showed no signs of change from its pre-storm condition. The tree’s structure above ground after the pruning now appears much more stable. The likelihood of failure below ground, where the roots hold onto the soil, still needs to be assessed. I reviewed the pictures and measurements and reports about this tree, and decided to inspect the damaged roots under the sidewalk. Ther original plan of installing a steel I-beam on neighboring property to attach support cables to didn’t fit any more, so it was time to consider some alternatives.

Dark-colored portion appears to be damaged, but the lighter-colored tissue to the right appears to be newly-formed wood grown in response to the damage. Strength is lost in one location, gained in another. Four sidewalk panels are lifted and uneven. We plan to take the following steps:

  1. Flip four uneven panels back, away from the tree.

  2. Cover the exposed roots with native soil mixed 1:1 with composted Maclura leaves and amended to fit conditions.

  3. Apply expanded slate aggregate and coarse sand to provide a stable subbase.

  4. Flip the panels back and orient them to minimize risk of tripping.


One type of tree support can be installed under the sidewalk. In a test of several rootball-anchoring systems reported by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the system using toggles 5’ deep to hold down the roots, was rated at 2000#, the best. Deeper and larger toggles could strengthen the system, since the other components in the system are rated at 5400#. All this could be done under and along the sidewalk without using the adjacent property, so no easement would be required. When the roots are inspected, we will also check feasibility for this and other support systems.


The Stihl Tour des Trees is a bicycle ride during the week preceding the annual conference of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). The Tour riders raise money for the Tree Fund’s scientific research, which informs and supports modern tree management methods. Over 60 of these fundraising arborists parked their bicycles on Main Street in Kewanee long enough to inspect the tree on July 22, 2010. Some put on saddles and went up into the tree, including ISA Executive Director Jim Skiera. The riders still gave their blessing and pedaled off to meet a school group in Princeton, their next stop. A team remained to go back up the tree and remove dead and dying and the most crowded and imbalanced limbs, approximately 30% of the tree’s crown. Combined with the January pruning, well over half of this tree has been removed this year.

What remains of the crown are the strongest, most vigorous, and best-located branches. The highest limb was cracked, so it was reduced. After reviewing their comments and further information, the most practical management options for the Potter Hedge Tree will be found.

1. The natural range of Osage-orange was pushed south by the Pleistocene glaciers, and it recovered much of that former natural range due to the work of

1. Lewis and Clark

2. Jonathan Baldwin Turner

3. John Bartram

4. All of the above


2. The freshly cut heartwood of Osage-orange is

1. Dark orange

2. Diffuse-porous

3. Bright yellow

4. Nearly as heavy as that of black walnut


3. The decay-resistant properties of Osage-orange are concentrated in

1. The heartwood

2. The roots

3. The bark

4. All of the above


5. The vectors responsible for the pre-glacial spread of Osage-orange seed are thought to have been

1. Squirrels

2. Gomphotheres

3. Wind and rain

4. All of the above


6. The decay-resistance of Osage-orange is due to:

1. Intravascular terpenes and isoprenes

2. Juglone

3. Mycophagous symbiotic microbes

4. 2,3,4,5-tetrahydroxystilbene 


7. Prior to the invasion of the Pleistocene glaciers, fossil records indicate the natural range of Osage-orange extended north at least as far as

1. Ontario

2. Patrick Henry's home in Virginia

3. Kewanee Illinois

4. The Red River Valley

8. Bonus: Pregacial records confirm that Ginkgo and Maclura are native tree genera. Why or why not?

Federal Tax ID #561677242, NC Tax ID #9236186

Please visit our website for more information and email us at if you have any questions.

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