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  1. #11
    Alamosa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldgringo View Post
    As in so many things, the gap between what I think and what I know is wide and deep.
    ...and then I have to add the gap between what I know and what it actually is.
    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. - Ben Franklin
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  2. #12
    Senior Member bonsaihiker's Avatar
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    Sorry for another long-winded response....

    Quote Originally Posted by Alamosa View Post
    Now I know we have had lots of mentioning of trees growing through wire, nails, etc. It reminds me of the ladies who have worn their wedding rings so long that they can not take them off. Their fingers have grown around the restriction, but in that case, the restriction stayed the same size and the finger slowly grew - much like wire wrapped around a tree that eventually gets embedded.

    Take a wire and wrap it that tightly around another finger and apply a force to it and you would have a tourniquet that would quickly kill the finger.

    Now if the cambium layer is tough enough that this constriction for a relatively short period of time (a few nights) is not an issue, as bonsiahiker mentions, then that is a good thing.
    Well, since you mention that....one of the methods we use in bonsai is to wrap wire around the branches in order to bend the branch into the shape we want, and the wire then holds the branch in position while new wood is formed which will, eventually, keep the branch in the desired position.

    In some trees (coincidentally, thin-barked ones), the growth is so rapid that the wire cuts in within a month or three. In others, such as pines and other conifers, the wire can stay on for a year or more without cutting. I have a ponderosa pine that can go 3 years before the wire needs to be removed (it's also about 200 years old).

    Anyway, the point is that it is at times very easy to go longer than you should, and after the wire starts to "cut in," removal will leave a scar. Some trees rebound quickly and after some time you can't see that anymore. Others will show those scars for life. So, there is a concern for constriction damaging a tree, but I think in the vast majority of cases we have broken camp and moved on long before this could cause a problem. Tincture of time is a treatment modality used by many medical people and I think it applies to this as well. We just aren't applying a sufficient force for long enough.

    Bringing up the air layering technique I mentioned previously: In some cases, it takes a tree so long to form roots with stripping the bark that some use a wire constrictor which is wrapped circumferentially around the trunk and tightened down until it is cutting severely into the bark. This may need to be left on for 2 years or more, and more wires may need to be added to prevent the cambium from growing over the wire, which essentially means that the tree "swallows" the wire.

    I'm not saying that you cannot damage a tree by girdling. I've seen it many times when rabbits gnaw at bark on young trees. If you damage the vascular layer underneath the cambium (called the xylem), it will inhibit the ability of the tree to transport sap up to the canopy. That's one reason air layering can be so tricky--you have to remove the cambium without damaging the xylem. However, in full-size trees with a xylem layer an inch or several thick, I can't imagine tree straps constricting enough to damage this.

    So, again, I just can't imagine the method you use to apply tree straps is going to be the determining factor of whether the tree is damaged or not. What we need, to be entirely sure, is at least an informal study where someone hangs regularly from specific trees, with regular documentation of the local and general effects. I'm not volunteering for this, BTW, I'll just keep happily hanging with my tree straps and not worrying about it.
    --Scott <><

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  3. #13
    Alamosa's Avatar
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    Wow, what a complete and useful answer bonsaihiker! You increase my knowledge of trees many fold in just that short write-up.

    That definitely answers any concern I had on the topic. Thanks.
    We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately. - Ben Franklin
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  4. #14
    Knotty's Avatar
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    Excellent info bonsai!

    One learns something new every day here.
    Knotty
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