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Check your trees this Spring for constricting wire & rope supports

Guy wires will choke and weaken a tree trunk!

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.

Girdled tree trunk

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 trunk.

Guy wire grown into a tree trunk

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. 

Wires supporting new trees should be checked for tautness often

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.

Enjoy Spring!


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