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Name: Jamie
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A

If the bark from the lower part of trees (elm trees) is almost completly removed (in this case by animals)to a height of about 8ft, is it possible that the trees will still live? What can be done to help the trees?

If the tree has been girdled, that is, the bark and cambium layer beneath it, has been removed completely around the tree, then it will die. If there is any portion of the bark remaining it may live, but if that remaining is small it probably will die fairly soon due to general decline. If the cambium layer has not been destroyed it may recover, but once the bark is stripped away it is most likely doomed because of the likelihood of invasion by fungi, insects, etc. A local forester or landscaper might be able to offer more help if they see it.

J. Elliott

Dear Jamie,


Causes of Damage to Tree Trunks

Trees have a thin layer of cells called the cambium that lies just beneath the bark. The cambium transports water and nutrients to and from the roots and leaves. It also produces new wood and bark tissue as plants grow. Anything that damages the bark or the underlying cambium can weaken trees and make them more vulnerable to disease and insects.

Weather Sunscald or frost cracking is caused by above-average temperatures in the winter or early spring. Cracks in the bark and the cambium can occur when trees are warmed in the day and rapidly cooled as the sun goes down. Some tree guards protect trees from this kind of damage by moderating extreme temperatures or reflecting sunlight.

Animals In the winter, when other foods are scarce, voles, mice and rabbits eat the bark of young trees. Voles, which cause the most damage, frequently girdle a tree by removing a strip of bark from around the tree, usually within 30 centimetres of the ground. Girdling can kill a tree. Some tree guards prevent this kind of damage by blocking small mammals from trees.

Equipment Careless use of lawn mowers, weed trimmers and other equipment can damage tree trunks. Some guards reduce the risk of this kind of damage by protecting trees from abrasion and making them easier to see.


Anthony R. Brach

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