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What's this in the middle of the tree trunk?

When we moved here a huge ivy was growing through an old cherry tree.  Last December we got a tree surgeon to prune the tree and remove as much of the ivy as possible.  He cut chunks from the main stems of the ivy, which led to much of it dying.

Today I tried to remove the dead ivy, only to discover that the cherry tree, right in the centre of its trunk, has a large area of sponge like sandy bit, which must be a dead part of the tree.

I've never seen anything like it.  Does this mean the tree is dying, or even worse, might be brought down by wind and rain?

I would be most grateful for your help and advice.

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  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,131

    OK, ASSUMING THAT YOUR TREE IS STILL ALIVE, HERE IS A BIT OF BOTANY WHICH MAY HELP YOU TO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT

    The Life-Cycle of Survival

    A young tree, seen in cross-section, looks regular and circular. There are three significant circular areas within. The inside is made up of vascular cells which deal with the transmission of water and nutrients within the tree. They are produced by a ring of rapidly growing cells, called the Cambium Layer or the Meristem, in the language of the cell biologist. The inside cells are constantly produced and each year they add a ring to the centre of the tree, reflecting growth followed by dormancy. These cells live for a while but as new rings are formed, the inner ones start to die. This dead material does no harm and adds strength to the tree. It becomes the wood that is harvested in some species.

    THIS IS COURTESY OF BERNWODE NURSERY'S WEBSITE. MORE HERE

    http://www.bernwodeplants.co.uk/oldesttree2.htm

    Last edited: 06 September 2017 17:56:26

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • Thank you very much, Pansyface.  Unfortunately this central bit you can see is like sand, when you touch it it crumbles.  It's not remotely like wood.  It looks like a long, dry sponge and behaves like sand.

    The cherry tree, which is probably over 70 years old, is perfectly alive but its affliction worries me.  The fruit it produces is not that tasty but the birds eat it.  And I like it, so I would like to save it.

    I have seen hollowed out old trees in woods.  Do you think this is something similar?

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,131

    YES.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • So, will the cherry tree survive?

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,131

    MY GUESS IS YES.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • That's hopeful.  Thank you, Pansyface.  image

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 20,131

    image

    THEY CAN TAKE A LOT.image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • That's quite amazing, but mine would cause damage if it fell. image

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 31,605

    Might it be a "post" to which the tree was tied at some point in the distant past ? 

    Devon.
  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 2,964

    Have you been to the 'Major Oak' in Sherwood Forest ? (Or what's left of the forest) ! The centre of this tree died out decades ago , but still alive and kicking , albeit held up now with supports .

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