Bark Ringing

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated October 22, 2021)

Bark ringing can be an extremely helpful type of pruning, if done correctly. To call this procedure pruning is perhaps a bit of an oversimplification, as it is more accurately a type of tree surgery than anything else. When utilized properly, bark ringing can limit the growth of trees enough that it will help focus the energy of the tree more on the foliage or fruit that it produces. However, if the procedure isn't done correctly, then you can find yourself with a seriously damaged tree that could possibly die. Some types of fruit trees really do not take to this type of tree surgery very well, so avoid using it on any of the "stone" fruit trees such as peach, plums, or cherry. Also keep in mind that this procedure should only be done around May, as this is when most trees begin to experience their growth spurts, and it will be most effective then.

Due to the risks that come with bark ringing, many people prefer to do the procedure in stages, so that they don't damage the tree too much. Ideally, when you do this procedure in stages, it will end up taking several years to get a complete ring out of the tree. Each year, you will make a new cut, but offset at an angle. Eventually the bark ring will look like a spiral around the tree. Here is how you do the procedure.

  1. Make your cuts. Use a measuring tape, and mark off a spot on the trunk of your tree about two feet above the ground. This is where the ring will start. Make two cuts, at an upward angle, that goes around half of the tree. The cuts should be between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch apart from each other, and equal in length. Make two smaller cuts at each end of the half spiral to form one long rectangular spiral.
  2. Remove the bark. Take a knife, and begin removing the bark from the tree. Be careful when you do this though, since you only want to remove the bark down to the cambium layer of the wood. The cambium layer is the green colored layer that you usually find right underneath the bark. Remove all of the bark in the marked area.
  3. Cover the wound. Once you have removed all of the bark down to the cambium level, get some adhesive tape. This tape will be used to cover the wound you just made, and help prevent the area from completely drying out. Think of it as a bandage.
  4. Repeat the process. At the same time next year, repeat the process. This time though, continue on from the end of the last cut, still going on in a circling spiral upwards. You should only need to do this procedure two or three times until you have the type of growth that you want.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...


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