Is this tree healthy?Ask the City of Mobile Arborist!

Technology & Science

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mobile is famous for its live oaks, but how does the city keep up with all of the trees along 1800 plus miles of roadways?

A tree may look healthy on the outside, but it may or may not be on the inside. The City of Mobile’s new technology uses sound waves to create a 3D can of the inside of the tree to be sure it is structurally sound.

Peter Toler, the City of Mobile Arborist, “Essentially it’s an aluminum nail that a sensor hangs on. They all connect with wires together. And then what happens is you use a hammer, hit the outside of the sensor and one sensor talks to all.” Once the sensor is hit, the machine measures the speed the sound travels through the wood. The faster it moves, the healthier the wood.

This process creates a chart and cross section of the tree where a blue color represents solid and healthy wood where pink and red colors represent either a hollow spot or low caliper wood.

Five trees were recommended to be taken down in Bienville Square, but this technology was able to show no structural issues. So now the trees can stay and be monitored.

Check out the video for more!


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