Unband that tree!

Being -among many other things- a closet hippie (shhh – nobody knows), soon after the rainy season started, I started checking the trees around my block, on my occasional sanity-strolls, paying special attention to banding and bracing.

A common problem in places where there are good tree-planting programs is the follow-up. It feels great to help break up some concrete and plant a new tree, or to build an impressive staking/support system, but people often forget to come back and check on the trees. Six months or a year or two later, the tree has outgrown these supports and bands, and if they are not made of organic materials (as they always should be! -and untreated!) they won’t just fall away of their own accord. So, what you find is plastic or metal bands that have become tourniquets, cutting off the circulation of the plant (all the circulation happens in the bark) and ultimately killing the tree if it goes on too long..

Tsk! At least twelve or fifteen trees within a block or two of my house had severe scarring – and with nobody to notice, the culprits were still in place. Some had been constricted to narrow little waists, creating weak points that might break in a storm. Some were growing around bolts and bands, creating pathways for insect infestation (some of which were already being taken advantage of). Some branches and trunks had come into contact with wood braces, been rubbed halfway through by braces that had become saws as wind pushed trees back and forth against them over a period of months.

So I went through the neighborhood liberating the trees from their cruel bondage. fly! Be free!

I could almost feel their sighs of relief.


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