I have now met with Phil Poulton, the SSDC Tree Officer. The storm damage to the Oak in Oak Tree Park is obviously very severe, with the main crown of the tree failing and taking off all of the lower branches on one side. It was very unbalanced and a further, lower limb has failed since it was fenced off.
Despite this, Phil recommends that we see if the tree can be saved. Oaks are quite good at regenerating and, although this one has few obvious buds, it’s worth taking a couple of years to find out. The suggestion is to stabilise the tree structure by using storm replication/retrenchment pruning techniques. This involves reducing the length of the remaining limbs (to reduce wind loading and to compensate for the loss of “mechanical damping”). Hopefully, in time the tree to produce new growth. This level of emergency work maybe possible without a TPO application.
We took a wider look around and the Oak in the play area also needs some work (it’s much weakened by fungus), so a TPO application to allow further retrenchment might be prudent.
The lightning-damaged Oak which sits on the green between Forde Park and Muchelney Way appears to have Meripilus giganteous at the base. That’s a very nasty fungus which eats away the very big structural roots – no need to do anything hasty but a TPO application to do a second crown reduction may be needed (Phil saved this tree when it was split in two and it has recovered to a nice shape, hopefully the same will happen again).