We have a very large Oak tree that is rotting from the inside out. Much of the lower trunk has been compromised and I fear for the stability of the tree. The tree, from a distance, looks healthy as it's branches are full of leaves and there is no other evidence of disease or decline. It is surrounded by condominiums and were it to fall, would most assuredly do significant damage. We very much want to save the tree as long as we can and hope that it can be made well and stabilized or reinforced.
It sounds like you have learned one of the basic principles of tree risk assessment. Structure and health are unrelated to each other. Some trees can have a perfectly healthy crown aloft, and yet be severely structurally compromised near the base. In fact, most trees are alive, with lots of water weight and foliar wind resistance aloft, when they fail. If you are the owner of the tree, and are not restricted by any ordinance or removal permits, then you might be able to make this call yourself, by using this general rule of thumb: if you can visibly determine one-third or more of the trunk to be decayed, then you probably should consider having it removed. If it's less, then pruning to reduce weight and wind resistance, or installing some support cables, might be an option. It sounds like you value the tree so it might be worthwhile to pay an arborist to assess it. We would be glad to come out and advise. Click here to schedule an appointment.
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