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Ancient Pear Tree in Tarmac

I wonder if anyone can offer me some advice please - I have a very old pear tree against the side of my cottage and the roots and trunk are surrounded right up to the cottage wall by Tarmac, as it forms part of the driveway. In the last year or so I've noticed that either the trunk is eroding or the Tarmac is breaking down around the base exposing a gap between the trunk and tarmac, meaning I can put my hand inside the trunk (it's hollow) at the ground level. I'm really concerned that something might get in, it may be open to disease etc. Should I fill it with earth or similar? Does it need new Tarmac to seal the area up again? This seems drastic to me, but I need to do what's best for this very old pear tree which is an integral part of the cottage's infrastructure. Any advice would be very much appreciated please. I've attached 2 photos, one of when it had plants around the base a few years agoimageimage and one of how it is now, showing the exposed area.


  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    That doesn't seem too healthy regardless of the healthy looking leaves. I think it may be wise to get an opinion from a tree surgeon just in case it topples one day across your drive taking some of the cottage wall with it. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Yes, I'll definitely do that anyway thank you, but I'm concerned about the exposed hollow and don't know how to fill it in. I understand it's natural for the trunk to be hollow sometimes, but I don't want it exposed to the elements, wildlife and potential disease. 

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,299

    trunks gradually expand, that's how trees grow. It's broken up the tarmac but the tarmac has broken the bark as well. If there isn't continous bark from root to top the tree will die. It seems to me that the part of the bark facing the camera is missing at the bottom. If it's like that all round there is no way water and nutrients can pass up and down the tree. Filling in the hole will not help

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Thank you for your reply - it's just the front that's missing, the rest is in tact, but I need to know the best way forward to safe guard the health of the tree. I'm hoping someone may have had to deal with a similar situation before. Tarmac degenerates over time and has to be replaced, but it's a problem to know what to put in the hole and how to treat such a sensitive exposed area. 

  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,253

    I would remove some tarmac to give a clear area of about a foot around the tree. That would at least let some water in and allow feeding.

  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    If you get a tree surgeon sooner rather than later,  he can advise on what to do about the hollow, if the tree is still safe that it. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Yes, I'll do that, best way forward I think - thank you.

  • id be more concerned about the damage the roots are doing to the cottage wall than the driveway, the root running along the wall doesn't look good.

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