Foggy trees

Detecting Decay in Trees Using the latest Technology

Imagine being able to see inside your tree, being able to see whether the tree was sound or not and if it was decayed, how badly. Modern decay detection equipment can help today’s arboriculturist to make an informed decision as to whether or not a tree is in a sound enough condition to retain.

MACS offers access to sophisticated modern equipment that uses the very latest computerised technology to measure and record the condition of the tree. Our range includes:

The IML 400 micro drill

The micro drill is a highly specialised tool that requires specific training to be able to use and to interpret. The drill tip measures 3mm in diameter, encased in a robust casing that houses two motors enabling the drill to record the resistance of the wood is two ways: the resistance to the rotation of the drill and the resistance to the thrust of the drill. Taken together these readings can interpret a wide variety of data including sound wood, cracks, cavities and areas of decay.

The readings taken can be loaded up onto a computer to give a graphic readout that is clear to read and easy to understand.

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The PICUS Electric Resistance Tomograph

The Electric Resistance Tomograph (ERT) measures an electric signal across the stem of a tree to gague how sound the wood is according to the apparent electric resistivity of that wood. The principal relies on wood being more or less conductive to a signal according to how much moisture is in the wood.

Electrical resistance and its reciproal, electric condictivity, are physical properties that allow a conclusion to be drawn about the structure of an object. In the case of trees a low resistance can indicate a higher moisture content or sound wood whereas a hollow would give a reading of high resistance. The electrical readouts are loaded into a computer to give a two dimensional readout that highlights differing areas of resistance.



The ERT is also capable of taking several readings to produce a three dimensional interpretation of the interior of the tree.



The ERT is thus a valuable tool in determining what is taking place under the bark. However it is open to interpretation in many cases and should be used not only by  aqualified expert but in conjunction with other methods. It is recommended that for a complete tree inspection the VTA system is used in conjunction with the micro drill and the ERT tomograph, building up as full a picture as possible.