Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Cambium Damage
Name: Jamie
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
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?



Replies:
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,

from
http://www3.sympatico.ca/lrc/guards.html

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.

Sincerely,

Anthony R. Brach



Click here to return to the Biology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory