April 2015 - While out for a spring walk this week, I
came across a tree suffering from past neglect. Unfortunately, it
was not unusual to see this sort of situation repeated in many
landscapes over the years.
How did this happen?
Chances are the nursery or landscaper who planted
this tree was not the same one maintaining the landscape. Therefore,
these guy wires were allowed to stay in place far too long, girdling
The good news is that this tree was able to
compartmentalize the girdled area by growing over and around the
hose and guy wire support. The bad news is that this created a
weakened area in the trunk which can more easily snap-off in future
ice and wind storms.
At this point it is best to leave the enclosed
portions of wire and hose alone, only attempting to remove the
portions clearly extending beyond the tree trunk. It would
definitely help the tree to cut any wire still exposed to help
relieve constriction on the trunk, provided it can be done without
damaging living tissue.
So today's advice is very simple: Check tree
supports in the spring of the year to see if they need loosened
before new growth causes the tree trunk to expand. In fact, check
supports several times during spring and summer to ensure they are
not cutting into the tree trunk.
Most tree supports should be completely removed
after one growing season, or two at the most. And support systems
should always allow for some movement of the tree so it can
establish better roots for supporting itself.