Red Oak Tree Health Assessment, Treatment & Follow Up

Wondering the health status of an oak tree? The owner of an old red oak named Big Roy had that question. So Seth Inman, Bloomington’s top tree doctor, performed a complete tree health assessment. Big Roy is a treasured tree for the homeowner, and they wanted to keep it healthy for as long as possible. Seth identified the issues, provided recommendations, completed the agreed upon treatments, and followed up 9 months later to monitor the results.


  • Red Oak (Big Roy), 175-190 years old
  • Trunk diameter 48.5″
  • White rot present on trunk
  • Bacterial ooze on 6 of 16 root flares
  • Ivy growing on trunk
  • Organic layer .25″
  • 18% buttress root loss due to decay from Brittle Cinder
  • Sounding mallet indicates significant decay on east and north side of buttress roots
  • Phellinus igniarius identified on old pruning cut


  • Basic fertility 1 out of 10 (depleted)
  • pH 6.8 (high)
  • EC (electrical conductivity) .03 (very low)
  • Soil compaction 4.5 tons per sq.ft. (very high)
  • Soil temperature 67 deg. Air 74 deg. (expected)


  • Moderate


  • Redirect irrigation
  • Aerate, de-compact and condition soil
  • Mulch interior critical root zone
  • Apply Tree Growth Regulator (TGR)
  • Apply fungicides
  • Retain and monitor
  • Strongly suggest a Cobra Dynamic Cable system be installed to mitigate risk of branch failure due to Phellinus bracket 

Red Oak Tree Assessment Health Diagnosis


  • Trunk diameter 48.5″ (unchanged)
  • Decay no longer advancing (Sounding mallet indicates significant decay on east and north side of root collar (unchanged, not advancing)
  • Saprophytes present on trunk (improved)
  • Ooze present on 6 of 16 root flares (improved)
  • Phellinus igniarius identified on old pruning cut (present)
  • Brittle Cinder identified on rotten buttress root (improved, not advancing)
  • 18% buttress root loss due to decay (unchanged)
  • Organic layer: 1″ (improved)


  • Basic fertility is 5 out of 10 (ideal, improved from 1)
  • pH is 6.0 (ideal, improved from 6.8)
  • EC (electrical conductivity) is .40 (improved from .03)
  • Soil compaction 1 ton per sq.ft. (ideal, improved from 4.5 ton)
  • Soil temperature 74 deg. Air 81 deg. (expected)

oak tree after certified arborist treatments

Significant improvements were made in the tree’s overall health and surrounding soil, after treatment by ISA Certified Arborist Seth Inman.

Red oak trees (Quercus rubra) are native to North America. They provide fruit (acorns) for many kinds of wildlife, and the timber is highly valued for use as wood slabs, lumber and veneer. Exceptional red oak specimens can live 300-500 years. With our help Big Roy has many healthy years left to provide enjoyment to the homeowners and food for Bloomington wildlife.

Red Oak Live Edge Wood Slabs