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The tree lost a lot of it leaves over the last year and the upper parts seem to be dead wood by now. However it has sprouted a lot of new branches in the bottom portion as visible on the picture. The soil is probably not ideal (heavy clay), but it must have been standing here for a while judging by its size.

Is the tree even having a chance long term?

Will it help to trim the dead top portion?

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  • The leaves and new branches seems spread irregularly (see on the left). This is strange. Did you had frost? – Giacomo Catenazzi Apr 25 at 6:28
  • No frost - we are in southern California, so the lowest temperature last Winter was in the 40s (Fahrenheit). – Oswin Noetzelmann Apr 25 at 9:36
  • added some more photos of strange spotty bark – Oswin Noetzelmann Apr 27 at 1:44
  • i've seen frost in December in the mornings about 5 miles in from the coast, so frost is possible – black thumb May 1 at 16:07

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