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  1. Treehouse in Hoheria tree - recently I had a treehouse built for the grandchildren on a hexagonal platform among the branches of this tree. There are no bolts or attachments into the tree and there has been only minor root damage to the tree when the holes were dug for the posts. There are some soft spongy patches on the main trunks which I presume are rot and they have been there for years

  2. There is one smaller dead branch coming off a trunk where the rot has traveled down the trunk. I plan to get an aborist in to remove this but am writing to get your advice about the health of this tree, it's longevity etc so I can best look after it. In my experience aborists are about the business of chainsaws and I need a tree surgeons advice.
    I am attaching some photos to help with this. I have several more images to send but only 3 in this request to keep under the 500kB limit.
    Is it necessary to scrape out areas that are soft and spongy and apply some sealant?
    When the dead branch is removed how can I care for the cracks and soft bark that are below this branch?
    I live on Mount Dandenong in Victoria Australia, around 50km east of Melbourne.
    It is a cool, high rainfall area, altitude around 550m.
    Hopefully by writing to your New Zealand Plant Conservation Network I will get the best advice.
    Many thanks,
    Jan Ward

  3. Hi Jan,

    Alas Hoheria is not a suitable tree to build a structure in, It is short-lived and has very soft wood. What you are describing could be caused by any number of things. In New Zealand Hoheria are infamous for growing well and then suddenly having whole branches die over-night - horticulturists call this 'Hoheria Dieback', wood boring invertebrates love them and can do extensive damage as well. I don't know what is causing the branch death of your tree but I do suspect your tree won't get any better, and in any case having soft wood, prone to splitting having a tree house in it is not a good idea. I appreciate you probably don't want to hear this but if I were you I'd take the tree house done (put it somewhere else) before nature does it for you. Last thing you will want is your grandchildren being hurt.

    Ciao Peter

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