Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tree Atrocity

I saw this sad sight in the parking lot of the restaurant where we had dinner this evening. The rubber hose material and tie wire is cutting into the tree and strangling it. This type of trunk girdling is common in public areas and it always disturbs me.

This and the butchering of shrubs into unnatural shapes do not point to competent landscapers. One would think that the landscapers would notice such trunk girdling during their routine maintenance, but I’ve seen three-year-old trees still staked—with the stakes actually grown into the tree.

Be kind to your newer trees and remove stakes and ties after one year. Many smaller trees don't even need staking. Over watered desert trees can grow too rapidly and may need staking for longer periods, so vigilance is necessary to prevent girdling, which cuts off water and nutrients to part of the tree. Girdling also weakens a tree so that it breaks easily with too much weight or movement. Staking also causes weak trees because the trees can’t move freely. Trees need movement to develop strong trunks. I'm speaking from personal experience--our Mesquites and Palo Verdes grew too rapidly and we have had several broken branches and weak trunks. We were amazed at how quickly the ties tightened and began cutting into the trees. We had to check the ties and loosen them every two weeks during the growing season.

If you see sights such as the one in the photo, check with the business owner to find out who owns the property and who hires the landscapers. Call the proper authority and report the problem. Many municipalities encourage this. With just a call, you may save many trees from strangulation. More trees could be saved this way than by cutting back on paper towels, as suggested by environmentalists!

1 comment:

Julie said...

Very interesting...and great tip on trying to stop this practice. I will look more closely from now on, and see what I find!