What's Wrong With This

Magna Utah Tree Disaster
This Globe Willow's trunk appears to be splitting due to large amounts of included bark. By combining straps, cables, ropes, and chains, the homeowner is trying to prevent the tree from becoming a complete loss. What's wrong with this?

Answer:
Globe Willows are extremely fast growing trees making them brittle and messy. Every globe willow owner will tell you that they fill their garbage can with branches after every wind storm. They can be great, fast growing shade trees as long as you are constantly monitoring them for wind and snow damage.

In this case there are several main leaders all growing from the exact same place. Where these branches have grown together for several years the bark tissue remains between each branch. This is called "included bark". Bark tissue does not grow together like cambium tissue, so the included bark makes each branch susceptible to splitting. This tree was showing signs of splitting that continued down the trunk. In an attempt to keep the tree from splitting they wrapped the trunk and braced branches with whatever they could find in the garage. This is not the best way to save a tree, but will temporarily prevent splitting as long as the tree remains wrapped. The included bark tissue will prevent the tree from ever growing back together. Chains and bright orange straps may or may not be worth a little shade. Sometimes it's just better to say good bye.

To avoid situations like this, call a horticulturist while your tree is still young. Regular pruning as a tree matures is the best way to prevent the premature death or removal of a tree.