ENSPEC uses the PiCUS Treetronic instrument to assess the internal structure of a tree and to detect the presence of decay or defects such as cracks or cavities. The PiCUS Treetronic is one of the most up-to-date instruments designed for this purpose available in the world today. It is a non-destructive instrument that uses the latest technology and software to rapidly and accurately map the extent of decay and defects in trees.
The PiCUS Treetronic measures the internal wood properties of standing trees using the electrical characteristics of wood. The PiCUS Treetronic passes an electric current through the tree and measures the electrical properties (impedance) of the wood. Information on the moisture content and chemical properties of the wood (such as ion concentration) that affect the flow of electricity is measured.
The fully qualified and experienced ENSPEC operator mounts the PiCUS Treetronic onto a tree and attaches a portable power supply to the instrument. The operator inserts the metal electrodes into the tree trunk ensuring they are evenly spaced around the trunk.
An electrical current is then passed through the trunk cross section,
which detects changes in the electrical properties between the electrodes. Solid wood has different electrical properties to decayed wood or cavities and the flow of electricity is dependent on the quality of the wood. It is possible to distinguish between different types of damage such as ‘wet’ diseased wood and cavities because the electrical resistance is dependent on water content, cell structure and cell chemistry; these properties change if a pathogen has caused decay or rot.
The data from the test is collated by sophisticated PiCUS professional software that produces a tomogram, or colored map of the tree cross section. The ENSPEC operator is highly skilled in interpreting the tomogram and is able to accurately assess the tree’s structural condition. The operator can also use the test results to obtain information about the tree above and below the cross section that has been tested, which is useful for analyzing decay pathways from roots or branches.
ENSPEC provides the client with a detailed, professionally written report that may assist managers to identify and risk manage a tree that has internal defects that could lead to tree failure causing injury or damage to people or property. Alternatively, the evidence in the report may indicate that a tree with suspected internal defects is in fact structurally sound, saving it from unnecessary remedial works or removal.
The PiCUS Treetronic complements ENSPEC’s PiCUS Sonic Tomograph enabling the comprehensive, scientific measurement of internal tree structure and allowing the early detection of cavities and defects in trees.