Picus® Sonic Tomograph

Moore Trees owns specialised expert equipment to conduct ultrasound tests on trees.  With the use of the Picus Sonic Tomograph decay and cavities that otherwise may not be observed, are revealed with a colour coded two dimensional image.

The Picus® Sonic Tomograph was developed by the company Argus Electronics GmbH, Germany. It is a device created to measure decay within trees. The device has been accepted worldwide as a leading method of near non destructive testing of trees. This instrument uses the velocity of sound waves to calculate the area of decay within a tree. These sound waves are activated from sensors placed around the tree.

Some stem wounds appear to be worse than they actually are. A Picus® test can quickly and easily provide you with peace of mind. Click here to view to view a Picus report that shows a dangerous looking stem wound that is actually localized damage.

To date, Moore Trees has conducted numerous destructive (where the tree is removed to reveal the test site) tests on many species of trees, both native and exotic. These tests have confirmed the accuracy of the Picus® Sonic Tomograph. Other independent studies have also confirmed the accuracy of this device (Schwarze, Rabe, Ferner & Fink, 2004). Ultrasonic tomography has been compared with other Tomographic techniques (Nicolotti, 2003) and has been found to be very effective in finding small structural anomalies within a tree.

Unlike other instruments used for decay detection the Picus® Sonic Tomograph does not drill into the tree and breach the tree’s barrier zones that are created to help confine and slow the spread of decay. Studies have confirmed that other invasive decay detection devices can aid the spread of pre-existing decay within a tree (Kersten and Schwarze, 2005).

Three-dimensional tomogram: By completing multiple test layers of a tree the Picus® software can process a 3D image that can be rotated or turned to fully assess the damage within a trunk. The 3D image shown is that of a mature Blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilulars) which had a termite nest at the base. This tree had adequate sound wood remaining so it was retained and the termite nest treated.

The first image above shows the 3D image looking from above. The second image is looking from below ground level through the bottom of the test site.

Test Examples

Tomograph 1 – Species: Euc spp

Tomograph of test site

Section of test site

Tomograph 1 summary: This tree was removed due to multiple cavities in the lower portion of the trunk. The tomogram shows a central portion of decay within the trunk. The photograph (taken slightly below the tomogram site) reveals the actual location of the cavity.

Tomograph 2 – Species: Platurus xhybrida

Tomograph of test site

Section of test site

Tomograph 2 summary: This tree was removed as it was dead. There was also evidence of termite damage on the trunk.
The tomography shows a notional (off center) defect within the trunk. The photograph confirms the tomogram result.