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We recently started some construction work that involves digging around a beloved walnut tree and the workers hit some of the roots. (Europe)

Some pics for reference:

The tree is old and full-grown. I have no experience in handling trees, so I need some help with:

  • Is there anything I should do to preserve the tree?
  • Is the damage fatal?
  • Can it survive winter like this?

Thanks!

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There's nothing you can do to preserve the tree, it either survives or it doesn't. The thing to worry about is whether it will become dangerous over time and fall onto someone or something. It already seems to have a pronounced tilt, and if the tree is now at the top of a bank, especially if it wasn't previously (that's what it looks like from the first picture), it might be sensible to have it removed. Call an arborist to come and assess the tree and its situation, and/or perhaps to remove it.

  • If you do get rid of it, don't just "give it away" to whoever fells it. That tree looks like it has a nice long straight trunk, and if you can be confident it has never had any nails etc knocked into it, good quality walnut, either sawn wood or veneer, isn't cheap. But a sawmill may be reluctant to buy a tree if an invisible buried nail might do more damage to their equipment than the tree is worth. – alephzero Oct 6 at 11:55
  • @alephzero: That doesn't look like a black walnut.Note the plate-like bark near the stub stupidly left by the contractors - black walnut bark is heavily furrowed. There are other smooth areas shown as well. If in North America, it could be a butternut. While those trees are also usually heavily furrowed, they are also more variable and can have smoother bark. I've seen that for myself. If not in northern North America, then it could be a number of different types of walnut. Not sure if those are commercially valuable, though. – Jurp Oct 6 at 13:57

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