Trees are a wonderful creation. They provide us with fruits, shade, and fresh air. Other animals also benefit from trees because trees provide them with shelter and food. Despite the numerous benefits that trees offer, sometimes, we have to get rid of them when they are invasive or become a weed.
Unknown to many people, tree felling is not the only way to kill trees. Another unsung practice of killing trees goes by the name ring barking.
What is Ring Barking?
Ring barking or girdling is the process of completely stripping off a part of the bark of a tree around the circumference of the main trunk or branches. The bark is the outermost portion of the tree which includes the cork, phloem, and cambium. Removing these tissues can significantly impact the function and health of the ring-barked tree.
Originally, people used ring barking as a way to control the tree population and thin forests without felling the tree. In simpler terms, ring barking kills trees. The portion above the ringbark dies if the tree does not recover from the wound. It also compromises the immunity of the tree and places it under stress. Moreover, phloem disruption also alters the food and nutrient appropriation of the tree.
Benefits of Ring Barking
Safe way to Kill Trees
Killing a tree is sometimes necessary, especially if it has become a weed or if it’s an invasive species. Girdling is a safe and easy way to kill trees because you don’t have to cut down the tree. Felling a tree is much more dangerous and laborious than cutting a portion of the bark of a tree. With ring barking, you don’t have to deal with all the weight of the tree and you also don’t have to worry about tree disposal because you won’t have anything to dispose of.
Produce more and larger fruits
Ring barking is a useful technique in horticulture. The damage to phloem caused by girdling stimulates flower development. Moreover, it makes food and energy produced in the leaves impossible to reach the roots. So, the tree needs to redirect these sugars and carbohydrates to other parts and these other parts are fruits. As a result, fruits grow more in number and in size than normal.
Control the size of the tree
Ring barking your tree is also helpful when you want to prevent your tree from overgrowing. Removing the bark of your tree around the circumference can control the growth of your tree so that you would need less pruning in the future.
How to Ring Bark a Tree
Ring barking is an easy process of killing trees. You only need a few tools to get the job done. Make sure to put on some gloves and eye goggles for safety purposes. Below are the steps on how to perform proper ring barking
Step 1: Mark areas to cut
Find the part of the trunk where you want to remove the bark, preferably below the lowest set of branches. Mark two points that are at least 3 inches apart where you will cut the bark around the circumference of the trunk.
Step 2: Start stripping the bark
Once you have marked the areas where to cut, use an axe or a chainsaw to work your way around the tree. Cut parallel grooves around the tree and then strip the bark in between these lines. Start with the outer bark and then the inner.
The extent of ring barking a tree depends on your intent. If you want to kill the tree, you should remove the bark deep enough so that the tree does not heal and recover. On the other hand, if you just want to control the size of the tree or increase its fruit production, you should be more careful. Strip around 1 to 1 and a half inches deep into the bark of the tree using a chisel or axe.
Dangers of Ring Barking
Ring barking kills trees. Even if it doesn’t, it still leaves trees susceptible to diseases and pest infestation. Girdling weakens the immune system of trees and places it under stress. That’s why you need to be careful when performing ring barking, especially when you do not intend to kill the tree.
You should also be mindful of the structural integrity of the tree. Removing the bark too deep may cause the tree to fall if there are extreme weather conditions like strong winds, earthquakes, heavy rains and snow.
Trees Down Under can help you ring bark a tree correctly. We have a team of licensed and dedicated arborists who can finish the job safely and efficiently. For all sorts of tree services in Sydney, just give us a call at 0475 463 597, and we’ll respond quickly. We are around Sydney to provide solutions for your tree and garden needs.