Tree Cavities. Habitat or Hazard?

A tree cavity is a hollow area formed in a living or dead tree.  Tree cavities can be caused by naturally occurring events (wind, lightning, fire) or may be the result of damage to the tree from improper pruning or by construction equipment or automobiles bumping the trunk of the tree.

A tree cavity is a hollow area formed in a living or dead tree.  Tree cavities can be caused by naturally occurring events (wind, lightning, fire) or may be the result of damage to the tree from improper pruning or by construction equipment or automobiles bumping the trunk of the tree.

Trunk wounds that penetrate the bark can cause damage to the cambium layer and can disrupt the tree’s vascular flow of water and nutrients.  Once a wound occurs, fungi can enter the area and decay can set in causing potential for structural weakness.  Trees often self-heal wounds, producing compounds to create a barrier and close off the infected area.  If less than 25% of the bark around the trunk has been damaged, the tree will usually recover.  However, if over time the wound and decay cause the structural integrity of the tree to be compromised by internal decay, the tree may be deemed hazardous.

If you have a tree with a wound or cavity, it should be professionally inspected to assess the health and structural integrity of the tree.  Northwest Tree Specialists has ISA Certified Arborists and Certified Tree Risk Assessors on staff to assist you with this and any other tree concern you may have.  As always, consultations are offered at no-cost.