Industry News: Bark and Trunk Concerns

Q: There's a cable deeply embedded around a large old tree. Should we remove it or leave it alone?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015  

Q: We have a very large old tree by the road. Someone put a large cable around it, about 4 feet up, many years ago to stop traffic from driving through. The trunk is much smaller where the cable is, but the tree seems to be doing okay. My daughter wants to try to remove the cable even though it is partially buried into the bark, and the trunk is much larger above and below the cable. My son in law says that it will kill the tree if we try to grind the steel cable in half, and that at this point, it is best to just leave it alone. Please advise.

A: Removing the cable in its entirety may harm the tree, but leaving it will eventually restrict the vascular flow of the tree until it can get no more water or nutrients to the upper portion of the tree. I have seen a few rare cases where a tree has successfully outgrown a cable, but I would not count on this. Without seeing the tree, it is difficult to make specific recommendations, but if there are exposed portions of the cable not overgrown by the tree yet, I would remove those sections. It is best to have an RCA inspect the tree if you are truly interested in the best outcome.


Responder: Jon Butcher, RCA #486, Milford, OH