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  1. #11
    Senior Member Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Sycamores are indeed trashy trees and their root system is weak if I understand correctly. They are huge beasities and that kind of tree often rots from the inside out. If the root system is compromised by the core wood being dead it can not support several thousand pounds. It appears they were at a commercial campsite. No way is a reputable campsite going to leave an obviously bad tree in a place where it could land on a tent site. I'll bet you could have looked at that tree top to bottom and not seen anything to give you pause. It just let loose.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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  2. #12
    canoebie's Avatar
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    While I am not placing blame for such a tragic accident, I would guess that close inspection would reveal issues with the tree. Trees give subtle but upon close observation, obvious hints of degeneration. The vast majority of folks don't recognize these hints because they have not worked in wood lots or spent lots of time observing fallen trees. I have learned mostly because I have cut and heated with wood for more than 45 years. I have fallen a lot of trees, seen a lot of downed trees, and could walk through my woodlot and clearly identify those that will be coming down in the years to come.

    Sycamores in particular have very shallow root systems spreading out rather than going down deep. Because of the wide stance of the root system they are particularly vulnerable to lightning strikes. They are simply better grounded, as are poplars and cottonwoods, than trees with deep tap roots that tend to go more straight down such as oaks or hickory. Often there is damage from those strikes.

    Examination of foliage, bark, soil type, root systems, etc. can tell stories of storms, lightning, wildlife, human abuse, etc. I prefer to stay away from large trees just because they are older and more likely to have issues. I like to hang on trees 10-12 inches in diameter when possible because they are more likely to be young and healthy with fewer issues. Sorta like me when I was 18.

    So while we never know absolutely, there are things we can do to minimize the calculated risk we take when hanging. Take the time to look at all aspects of a tree, and perhaps more importantly those close by as well as those we hang from. I have found great trees for hanging but moved because of a tree within range that looks treacherous at some level.

    Take time to look at downed trees, understand why they are down, study the roots, the trunk, the limbs, as well as those trees that appear unhealthy. Comprehensive observation will reveal tell tale signs that will serve us well as we enjoy the woods.
    Revolution is about the need to re-evolve political, economic and social justice and power back into the hands of the people, preferably through legislation and policies that make human sense. That's what revolution is about. Revolution is not about shootouts.

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  3. #13
    Senior Member sweetbabyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Syb View Post
    Just up the road from where I live. Sad indeed. Heading to the Catskills in NY this weekend and I will certainly be aware of everything above us.
    yeah Syb - i was shocked - our house is just on the other side of the river in Pt. Pleasant. the size of that tree was enormous. i always look up, but this was such a freak accident. how horrible...
    who learns will love and not destroy
    the creature's life, the flower's joy

  4. #14
    Senior Member Law Dawg (ret)'s Avatar
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    How heart breaking for that family...dad dead and mom hurt bad.

    Since hammocking I have been taking a much closer interrest in the trees and forrest in general. It does not take long to see rather large trees down just about anywhere you camp or travel. Branches large enough to kill are even more prevalent. At a recent camp there was a large Ponderosa Pine (prolly about 12 feet in circumference) down and the root system was surprisingly small for this tree. As has been said the general appearance of this one would lend no suspicion when it was upright.

    We can only do what we can to look up etc...after that the fickle finger of fate comes into force. It was, sadly, just this dad's time...tree or banana peel, your time is your time.
    Mark is the name and If there is more than one way to understand what I just said....I meant the good one.

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  5. #15
    MAD777's Avatar
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    Very tragic event. I know I don't always look around as much as I should when setting up.
    Reminder to myself: Take a few minutes to survey the area!
    Mike
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  6. #16
    Senior Member Flangler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by canoebie View Post
    Examination of foliage, bark, soil type, root systems, etc. can tell stories of storms, lightning, wildlife, human abuse, etc. I prefer to stay away from large trees just because they are older and more likely to have issues. I like to hang on trees 10-12 inches in diameter when possible because they are more likely to be young and healthy with fewer issues. Sorta like me when I was 18.

    So while we never know absolutely, there are things we can do to minimize the calculated risk we take when hanging. Take the time to look at all aspects of a tree, and perhaps more importantly those close by as well as those we hang from. I have found great trees for hanging but moved because of a tree within range that looks treacherous at some level.

    Take time to look at downed trees, understand why they are down, study the roots, the trunk, the limbs, as well as those trees that appear unhealthy. Comprehensive observation will reveal tell tale signs that will serve us well as we enjoy the woods.

    Let's hope we can all learn something from this.

    I, for one, would truly appreciate a tutorial sticky with some guidelines on identifying potential hazards from above. (Or maybe there already is one?) We can all spot obvious widowmakers; many of us can even identify some tree species, but are probably pretty clueless about any telltale signs of root damage or other not-so-obvious dangers from within. For instance, what could this poor gentleman have looked for if he understood the dangers of a sycamore potentially falling on or near his campsite?

    Any arborists out there care to weigh in? Species specific examples would be great.

  7. #17
    canoebie's Avatar
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    I am not an arborist, yet I look for things like: yellowing or falling foliage, flaking bark, cracking or raying in the trunk, bare spots on the bark, sawdust anywhere in the vicinity from ants and termites as well as insect activity, excessive woodpecker activity, heaving of the soil around the base, dead limbs in the crown (dead limbs in the understory are common and normal), other trees in the vicinity as a comparison, excessive leaning. Trees that are not healthy look sick most often, though not always. Other ideas?
    Revolution is about the need to re-evolve political, economic and social justice and power back into the hands of the people, preferably through legislation and policies that make human sense. That's what revolution is about. Revolution is not about shootouts.

    Bobby Seale


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  8. #18
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    With all the beetle-kill pine trees out here, I've gotten into the habit of doing two things at any campsite I select. First, I walk around and give all the trees in the immediate area a good healthy shove. I've tied to trees that looked fine on the surface, only to see/feel them lean when I got in the hammock. The other thing I do was told to me by a ranger, so I accept it as a good guideline; I knock on the tree. Apparently, the ones that are dead, or near death, but still look healthy give a hollow sound when knocked on. Pines are about the only thing I worry about so I don't know if these 'tricks' are valid on other species or not.

    Hate hearing about this stuff, but it seems to happen pretty regularly.
    Trust nobody!

  9. #19
    Senior Member DemostiX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flangler View Post
    Let's hope we can all learn something from this.

    I, for one, would truly appreciate a tutorial sticky with some guidelines on identifying potential hazards from above. (Or maybe there already is one?) We can all spot obvious widowmakers; many of us can even identify some tree species, but are probably pretty clueless about any telltale signs of root damage or other not-so-obvious dangers from within. For instance, what could this poor gentleman have looked for if he understood the dangers of a sycamore potentially falling on or near his campsite?

    Any arborists out there care to weigh in? Species specific examples would be great.

    Strongly agree.
    Are there any arborists here? Please make a valuable contribution if you can. At least point to standard and good works for amateurs, not what the rest of us will turn up with a www search.

    (To repeat an earlier point from elsewhere, a www search with whatever terms you choose will search more widely if " -hammockforums.net " is appended to the search word list, and if you search right after firing up your browser.)

  10. #20
    Senior Member Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Core wood rot can sometimes not be seen from the outside. The tree can look live and healthy because it is the outer layers that carry the nutrients to the tree. I was good friends with a forester at one point. He told me that his biggest concern in the woods was very old growth trees because so many of them can be rotted inside and look healthy only to shatter or topple unexpectedly when they were harvested. That's one reason he did not think old growth forest was always worth saving. I'm not saying I agree with him. I'm just giving what I understand to be an expert's opinion. I can't believe a reputable commercial campsite would leave an obviously dangerous tree standing. I would expect them to consult frequently with experts in the field. My guess... freak tragedy.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

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