I heard "CRAACK!" and turned just in time to see this fully-leafed branch from the huge twin oak peel off and land, completely blocking our only access road. Thank God I wasn't under there and my car was garaged. My neighbor and I were now trapped so I phoned the handymen at once. They said, first thing in the morning. With time to inspect it I tried to find out what had gone wrong with a branch that looked healthy.
What looks like interior rot is the tree's heartwood, and in any tree it's dead already, having done its job. As you know, a tree feeds itself through the wood just beneath the bark, and its concentric rings are what hold it up. It's like a hollow metal pole; its strength doesn't depend on its core. I didn't see real rot. And a sick or bug-infested branch wouldn't have such healthy greenery.
It was, however, a horizontal branch on a very old tree, richly weighted with other leafy branches, after two consecutive years of severe drought. In June we didn't get a full inch of rain here (the city got a bit more than we did). Our towns cancelled Independence Day fireworks for the first time ever because of the fire hazard, and I hope the kids shooting off fireworks for fun aren't doing it anywhere near our dry-as-dust woods and fields.
|Where the branch peeled away|