Dynamic Tree Systems is a consulting business within Genesee Tree Service. We use a systems approach to tree health, implementing a holistic method to supporting low risk, healthy, mature trees in urban landscapes. Our services benefit any institution, agency or municipality concerned about their valuable trees.
We are professional arborists providing mature tree management and risk / health evaluation, as well as habitat & site services, such as construction site consulting.
Now providing New York state with noninvasive evaluation of tree health using innovative Tree Radar™.
Overcoming disadvantages of past techniques
A comprehensive evaluation of tree health and risk assessment is limited when only external/surface inspection is used. Excessive decay inside the trunk or loss of root mass can be indications of trouble, but difficult to observe or quantify. Arborists have used a variety of tools to sample tissue of tree trunks, including the Resistograph ®, Densitomat, and other drill-type devices. Due to the invasive puncture of the trunk at each sampling point, typical evaluations are done at a few points and generalizations are made from the limited samples.
Comprehensive root mass evaluation has been done by root crown excavation to examine otherwise buried root surfaces. In situations where roots have extended under walkways or near underground utilities, getting the "full picture" can be difficult.
Dynamic Tree Systems now provides an innovative and noninvasive means for tree evaluation using Tree Radar™. The Tree Radar Unit (TRU) is an ultra-portable version of Ground Penetrating Radar, and this instrument provides the first step in modern measurement, analysis, and interpretation of tree health and structural integrity.
Ground Penetrating Radar
Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) emits electromagnetic pulses into the object being examined. Waves reflected from layers or objects of different density and moisture content are sensed by the GPR receiver, with precision timing by its control unit. Collecting data at known positions of the GPR antenna allows relating the hundreds of density readings to form a picture of the inside of the object scanned.
Trunk evaluation with TRU
The TRU uses a small transmitter/receiver easily held against a tree and moved by hand around the trunk's circumference. The measuring speed and fraction-of-inch resolution of the TRU allows a large number of readings to be taken around any trunk elevation, surpassing the few, invasive drill positions of a Resistograph.
Different reflections from the varied layers of the trunk are recorded within an attached computer for each sample position. The ability to detect & distinguish between different internal conditions aids finding locations and extent of hollow or decayed wood. The fine resolution of TRU scans can even detect internal cracks not yet visible on the exterior.
Trunk scans are performed circling the tree at several fixed elevations, allowing characterization of those horizontal 'slices' as well as helping to profile any voids or decay running up the trunk. The data gathered is recorded by the TRU computer, and must undergo post-scan processing on a computer to yield a diagram depicting the internal details.
Root mass evaluation with TRU
TRU examination of tree structural root systems allows identification of the position and depth of masses below the surface, including roots, utility runs, and other significant objects. The radar signals can penetrate through surface structures such as walks, stone or turf to reveal what is below.
A subsurface ground scan of a root system is performed with the TRU antenna mounted on a small cart pushed by the arborist. Gradually widening circles are made around the tree from a reference point as readings are taken and recorded. Radar reflections from differing depths are identified by the TRU, so that the data once processed will show underground masses in contour plots, by depth in 360° 'slices' circling the trunk.
Tree Radar™ is a trademark of TreeRadar Inc.
Results of a Tree Radar™ Analysis
Scanning a Tree
Scanning a tree is a straightforward process at the site. For trunk scans, several elevations designated for measurement are marked on the tree. The handheld transceiver of the TRU is moved around the tree at these markers as the equipment sends pulses into the trunk and records all signals reflected from the interior. To scan root masses, the transceiver is placed at the ground level on a small cart and moved around the tree as the TRU records data. Depending on the size of the tree, and setup time at the site, visits can take from one to several hours to record all data.
Data Analysis, Report & Recommendations
The data collected by the TRU is processed by highly skilled signal analysts using a proprietary software package specifically designed for the unit. The information is then translated into a graphic interpretation.
In the case of a trunk scan, each graphic represents a cross section of an elevation scanned, showing the amount of sound wood & the amount and location of decay.
As the example shows, scan results faithfully depict density & decay when compared to the actual trunk.
In the case of a root scan, the location of roots under the scanned area is plotted. Seen to the right is one of the possible resulting plots, a 'Virtual Excavation' or top-down image of subsurface structural root layout and density at one depth; in effect a visual 'slice' of the root mass parallel to the surface. Several depths may be plotted, down to the TRU penetration depth of 1 meter.
A 'Virtual Trench' plot is also possible, to show what would be seen at the various depths of a straight trench if it were dug through the root mass.
A report accompanying the plot(s) is written by the staff at Tree Radar Inc. This includes a summary of the results found during the analysis of the collected data. Dynamic Tree Systems then uses the above information as a tool to prepare a formal tree risk report. This will include the vital information needed to tie the technical information in the TRU report to an arboricultural recommendation.
Through the above process our customers can rest assured that their decisions will be based on a thorough examination of the tree. With this knowledge, wise decisions can be made with valuable documentation as justification.