A tree that I walk past on my daily commute has acquired numerous deep cracks in its Trunk and primary branches, in the last few days, over the course of an extreme (for UK) heatwave and drought.

Is this something it can recover from, or is it basically dead at this point?

(Images are thumbnails. Click for full-size)

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  • FTAOD ... I have no ownership, rights, responsibilities or information about this tree. I'm just curious about it.
    – Brondahl
    Aug 18, 2022 at 8:37
  • I'd be wary about walking under or close to it as time goes on - without pushing on the main trunk you can't check if its still stable, but its possible some of the more severely affected limbs may fall. Whoever owns it needs to get a tree surgeon out to check it over...
    – Bamboo
    Aug 18, 2022 at 13:21

2 Answers 2


The cracks in and of themselves might be survivable, but presumably it's cracking due to being exceedingly dry (unless it got lighting struck, which they don't really look like - no blown-off bark) and that may well make it exceedingly dead.

Can't quite tell what the foliage looks like, but if it's wilted and/or brown, (which I think the 3rd picture implies, but it's out of focus foliage-wise) the tree's fate is probably to expire soon. However, trees do have reserves and may manage to come back from a terrible year (somewhat scarred from it) if the next one is kinder to them.

  • The fourth picture seems to show that there are no leaves on the tree at all, unless those twigs are from a different tree. Looks really most sincerely dead to me.
    – Jurp
    Aug 18, 2022 at 14:03
  • I couldn't (can't) tell if they were from a different tree or not....
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 18, 2022 at 14:45

It's not dead but it is a hazard. Next big wind storm or ice storm and those branches will break further including detaching.

If the owner of the tree is aware of the damage and does nothing in some locales they would be responsible for any damage. (Consult your local ordinances!)

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