Huge Tree Down at 13th and Massachusetts Ave, NW


Thanks to Mark for sending at 6:45am:

“old tree fell down last night at mass and 13th, firefighters on scene with chainsaws”

MPD warns of street closure:

“Traffic Advisory/Street Closure due to tree down on Mass Ave & 13th St NW. Use alternate route.”

From Alert DC:

“MPD reports street closure on Massachusetts Avenue NW between 12th Street and 13th Street NW is blocked in both directions due to a tree down in the roadway. Please use alternate routes.”

Update: a reader reports:

“Mass Ave is now open– only thing closed are the right hand NB lane of 13th and the westbound right turn lane of Massachusetts.”

23 Comment

  • justinbc

    Wow, lucky for the homeowners that it fell into the street (and hopefully nobody was nearby to get hurt).

  • Mass Ave is now open– only thing closed are the right hand NB lane of 13th and the westbound right turn lane of Massachusetts.

  • I took the picture and got a closer look when I left for the day… it looks like the tree may have been rotted out from the inside because the entire main trunk of the tree was hollow.

    • palisades

      Yeah I know nothing about that but even I can tell that tree was completely dead haha. Looks like a straw

      • It couldn’t have been _completely_ dead — looks like it had quite a bit of foliage up top.

        • A tree really only needs the phloem, which is the layer right underneath the bark, to live. That’s where the nutrients are passed from the roots to the branches and foliage. The entire trunk can be hollow as long as that phloem layer is intact, and the tree will do just fine. Until it all comes crashing down, of course.

        • My commute took me right by this after the cleanup was nearly complete. They cut the stump down further and you can see pretty clearly that nearly the entire inside of the trunk is hollow. Only about 6 inches or so of live wood around the perimeter. Makes you worry about some of the other trees around!

        • Rapid rain can bring down a tree if the limbs can’t hold all the water. Often this doesn’t happen until after the storm.

          • I remember this happening several years ago when there were heavy rains/flooding and Rock Creek Parkway was closed because of multiple fallen trees… but I thought in those cases it was the entire tree that toppled over, rather than (say) the top half breaking off. No?

    • Won’t someone think about the elves!

  • It fell right in front on my husband’s car this morning about 6:10am. He was stopped at the light and heard a loud crack and looked up to see this tree falling right in front of him. He got lucky! Plus there wasn’t anything coming eastbound so he got around it and I reported it.

  • Is there now way to detect something like this before it happens, or are the external signs that the heartwood is totally gone hard to see?

    • Edit: *no* way

    • I’m wondering the same thing.
      So it sounds like if you see a tree with NO foliage (during a season when it should have foliage), it’s definitely dead… but it can still be (mostly) dead even if it does have foliage?

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