We have a large, established liquidambar tree with many competing leaders (the trunk is ~1m (3') diameter but 2 m (6') from the ground it divides into 10 or so ~300 mm (12") diameter branches). I've attached some photos.
It dropped a large branch about 1 year ago, exposing some obvious rot in the branch crotch. We are worried because many of the remaining crotches collect a lot of leaves and debris--several containing damp soil when you dig down into it, and with saplings of some other species growing in the soil in the crotch. A few of these remaining branches would land on the house if they fell.
Other than this, the tree seems really healthy.
We would really like to keep the tree--it gives great seasonal shade and really sets the vibe of the whole property--but we also worry every time there's a strong wind.
Any advice on how best to manage the tree would be really appreciated. We've struggled to get a local arborists to assess the tree (the one who comes recommended isn't taking new work, and others seem to only quote for removal). For example:
- Should we be removing whatever soil, etc. we can from the crotches?
- Is there a way we can assess the extent of rot and risk?
- Is heavy pruning an option (one arborist told us removing the top of all leaders would stress the tree too much)?
- Is cabling, or some other reinforcement, an option?
Thanks very much in advance!