How To Prevent Bark Damage On Trees

The bark is more than just the tough protective outer coating of your tree's trunk, it also encases the cambium which is the vascular system for your tree. If the bark and cambium layers suffer too much damage, the tree will sicken and die. The following information can help you prevent common types of bark damage on your landscape trees.

Rope Girdling

Tying a rope around a tree may seem less invasive and damaging than driving a nail into the trunk, but it can actually result in worse damage. Ropes, twine, and straps wrapped around a trunk can constrict the trunk as the tree grows. This constriction is called girdling. Once a tree becomes badly girdled, the vascular system is cut off so that nutrients and water can no longer flow between the roots and the canopy. Eventually, the tree will die.

A nail is a much better choice if you need to hang something on the tree for more than a few days. A tree will produce more wood to "heal" over a nail hole. As long as there aren't a lot of holes in the tree, the damage will be negligible.

Mechanical Damages

String trimmers and lawnmowers are responsible for most mechanical damage on trees, but anything that can damage the bark can cause mechanical damage. That's because these damages tend to occur from repeat exposure. For example, if you frequently use a string trimmer to cut down grass growing against the tree trunk, over time the force of the trimmer line can knock off the bark and damage the cambium layer.

Place tree guards around the trunks of young trees or trees exposed to frequent vectors of mechanical damage. It also helps to mulch the area around the trunk so weeds won't grow. This way you won't need to use a trimmer or mower right by the trunk.

Sun Scald

Young or thin-barked trees are more prone to sunscald than mature or thick barked trees. Scald occurs on sunny winter days when temperatures are below freezing. The heat of the sun warms up the sap in the cambium layer so that it flows and begins to flow again. As soon as the sun sets, the sap refreezes and expands, causing the bark to split.

You can prevent sunscald by wrapping susceptible tree trunks in burlap for the winter months. Just make sure to remove the burlap before the tree buds begin to open or girdling may occur.

For more help, contact tree services in your area