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Old 05-27-2020, 11:30 AM   #1
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Did my rv kill my pepper tree?

short version:
we have a big pepper tree on the fence line with our next door neighbor. our driveway is dirt and three years ago we bought a 27k diesel rv and parked it in close proximity to the pepper tree.

the tree has essentially stopped leafing ~1/3 way up - it looks like a Tim Burton tree - and to us it seems the pepper tree is very.suddenly.dying :-(

how likely is it our rvís weight has caused this death / damage?

(fwiw, the tree is likely 60-70 years old.)


my version:
we live in an older silicon valley neighborhood that used to be a farm. our home was built in Ď47, refreshed and expanded over the years; our street has no sidewalks and many of our homes still have dirt driveways.

our dirt driveway runs parallel to our neighborís paved driveway, with a fence running down our property line. on their side of the fence is an ~10í wide dirt strip with drought-resistant plants.

ON our fence line sits a big california pepper tree with ~ 50% of the trunk on their side, 50% on ours.

three years ago we bought a 27,000 lb diesel that i park in our dirt driveway. iím able to back it in so that its major weight area (engine) is 30í away from the trunk, but there is still 27k lbs on the dirt driveway (and roots?). there are no roots visible and the coach leaks no fluids.

the tree has stopping leafing ~1/3 way up - it looks like a Tim Burton tree - and to us it seems the pepper tree is very.suddenly.dying :-(

how likely is it our rvís weight has caused this death / damage?

(fwiw, the tree is likely 60-70 years old. about 10 years ago during an excessive heat spell a massive - and seemingly healthy - limb on our side suddenly broke off and crushed the roof of the prius parked under it.)

based on what iíve indicated above, how likely is it our rvís weight has caused this death / damage? my thinking is weíll need to have an arborist evaluate the circumstances / tree and make go-forward recommendations.

i made this post on arboristsite and a moto forums, too - thx in advance for any / all experience-based feedback.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:32 PM   #2
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Driving a heavy rig near a tree will compact the soil and starve part of the tree for oxygen/water.
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Old 05-27-2020, 01:16 PM   #3
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interesting, thx very much.
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Old 05-29-2020, 12:10 PM   #4
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arborist on-site 6/3 to evaluate go-forward plan, will post feedback if anyone is interested.
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Old 05-29-2020, 11:27 PM   #5
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Dying from the bottom up can be a sign of root rot/Phytophthora although that's usually a wet soil/poor drainage problem. Compacting of the soil can cause loss of aeration and drainage. If the roots one one side are covered with pavement, and the other side gets compacted, that can push it over the edge. Sometimes Phytophthora can be brought in on an infected nursery plant and travel from root to root. It's fairly easy to diagnose because there will be black/brown "threads" in the cambium layer and in severe cases the whole cambium layer near the base turns black. Sometimes one side of the tree with die first.

It could still be any number of pests or stresses caused by excessive drought or an extra wet winter. A stressed plant is more susceptible to disease and pests.

Yes, I'd be interested in hearing what the arborist has to say.
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Old 05-30-2020, 07:59 AM   #6
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What is the normal and usual lifespan of that tree?
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:49 AM   #7
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Did my rv kill my pepper tree?

Quote:
Originally Posted by astrnmrtom View Post
Dying from the bottom up can be a sign of root rot/Phytophthora although that's usually a wet soil/poor drainage problem. Compacting of the soil can cause loss of aeration and drainage. If the roots one one side are covered with pavement, and the other side gets compacted, that can push it over the edge. Sometimes Phytophthora can be brought in on an infected nursery plant and travel from root to root. It's fairly easy to diagnose because there will be black/brown "threads" in the cambium layer and in severe cases the whole cambium layer near the base turns black. Sometimes one side of the tree with die first.

It could still be any number of pests or stresses caused by excessive drought or an extra wet winter. A stressed plant is more susceptible to disease and pests.

Yes, I'd be interested in hearing what the arborist has to say.

lots of very good information, thank you very much.

re iíve read varying info re lifespan of these trees, but it seems 50-80+ years is in the ballpark.

iíll post the feedback when available.
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Old 06-03-2020, 03:41 PM   #8
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follow-up w/local arborist of 30+ years.

said heíd never seen sudden death like it in a pepper tree before without trauma such as extensive root damage due to trenching, etc. no visible reason - fungus, insects - as to why it died. said no to rv parking question.
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Old 06-14-2020, 08:12 PM   #9
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If you can get around the tree about 5-foot away in a circle take ground samples to your local county extension service as they can check the dirt to tell you what is in the dirt hurting the tree. Next, take water samples used to water the tree as that can also be tested. Browning sounds like a lack of SUN light. Also if you can find any wood branches take them in as samples all can be tested and should be free to do so. I do not know about the Burton tree just the artist Tim Burton.
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