Can you see anything wrong with the tree below?
The problems isn’t all that obvious, is it?
Look more closely…
Can you see it now?
This beautiful Palo Verde tree is slowly being ‘girdled’. Girdling occurs when tree cable is too tight and has not been loosened or removed as the tree grows. This cuts off the flow of nutrients between the top and bottom of the tree and leads to the death of the tree. (Unfortunately, with my work as a Certified Arborist – I see this all to often).
There is another problem with the tree cable, above. The landscaper did not put a covering onto the cable, where it touches the tree. Usually a small piece of garden hose or plastic drip line can protect the trunk from the cable wire cutting into the trunk.
But, simply covering the cable wire, will NOT prevent girdling.
“When you stake a tree, the cable must be loosened as the tree grows or else the cable will slowly ‘girdle’ the tree trunk. The International Society of Arboriculture recommends that tree stakes be removed after one year.
The good news is that the tree, photoed above, has not been completely girdled. But the cables need to be removed OR if it still needs to be staked, the cables need to be loosened and the part of the cable that comes in contact with the tree, must be covered to prevent injury to the trunk- a piece of cut garden hose works great.
The majority of mature trees need NO staking or cabling of any kind. It helps to think of staking as ‘training wheels’ for young trees. They eventually outgrow their need for them.
Sadly, many times the damage caused by tree cables that have not been removed and/or adjusted are permanent.
The outlook is not very good for the Mesquite tree, above, even though the tree cable has not completely girdled (encircled) the tree trunk.
Is your tree in danger of becoming girdled by tree cable? As long as the cable has not become completely embedded (and cut off your nutrients), remove the cable (you might need to use needle-nose pliers to do this). Unfortunately, even if you have done this – there is no guarantee that your tree will survive if their has been too much damage to the tree trunk.
The best way to prevent girdling of your tree is to remove stakes as soon as your tree can stand up on its own and closely monitor the tree cable, adjusting as needed for growth.