by Lee Wyatt
(last updated May 5, 2017)
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.
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