How to girdle a tree

Girdling - The Prairie Enthusiasts

Posted by Jim Rogala 218.1 on May 24, 2016

Girdling offers an effective mechanical method to kill some tree species. While some folks "girdle" with cuts and apply herbicide to the "cuts", it is not needed if girdling is done in a manner that removes the bark without damaging the layers inside the bark. Now's the time to do this type of girdling, as the layers to be removed easily separate from the inner layers. 

The intense transfer of materials within a tree at this time of the year makes for efficient girdling. Girdling is simply the removal of the “bark” to kill a tree. I use girdling as my go-to method for killing aspens clones. The method works best on clones where stems are at least an inch or two, although it can be used in combination with double cutting of the smaller stems (a topic for another post). It is critical to girdle all stems of a clone. I use it on a number of other species, including birch, but it doesn't work on all species (e. g., box elder).
The key to successful girdling without using herbicide is to remove the outer layers (inner and outer bark) of the truck without injuring the innermost parts. I'll bore you with the plant anatomy and physiology details in a later paragraph, but the details are really unneeded to accomplish the mission at this time of year. There is an obvious break between these layers when the tree is translocating a lot of materials upward, which is happening now. A person can simply run a tool between these layers around the entire circumference with a span of at least 6 inches wide. There's no need to have clean cuts on the upper and lower ends of the separation, with the end-product often being somewhat banana-peeled looking.
There are a variety of tools that can be used to girdle, but from the description of the process above it's obvious that a chainsaw is not one of them. For smaller trees, I often use a somewhat dull wide-bladed wood chisel. For larger trees, I use a flat pry-bar or a leaf spring cut to a manageable size and sharpened on one end. First I use the tool vertically to open an area to access the location between the layers, but this should be done without cutting too deeply into the tree. Then, put the tool between the layers horizontally and work it around the tree.

For those of you that are curious, here's why this method works. There is a lot of specificity in the cells of a tree. There are those that transport materials upward in the inner layers (the xylem), and those that transport materials downward in the outer layer (phloem). Products stored in the roots, along with water, are sent upward. Products generated by photosynthesis in the leaves are sent downward. By removing the outer layer, the plant starves to death without the translocation of nutrients to the roots. You might be thinking that just cutting the tree might serve the same purpose. Well, that's true for some species (such as cedars), but most trees have a strategy that includes resprouting from the base (or, like aspen, from rhizomes) when the xylem is disturbed. Be patient when looking for the results, as the tree will appear fine until the need for nutrients from the roots becomes great in the following spring. Sometimes it might take two years for the tree to die.
More information on girdling can be found by searching the web, but be careful to look for methods similar to what I've described here that don't use herbicide. Tom Brock has a section on this topic on the Pleasant Valley Conservancy website ( This method is not only effective, but minimizes the use of herbicides, which is attractive to me.

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What Is Tree Girdling - Should You Girdle Fruit Trees For Better Yields

Home › Edible Gardens › Fruits › Peach Trees

Peach Trees

By: Teo Spengler

Image by leekris

Girdling a tree is often on the list of actions to avoid in your garden. While stripping bark off a tree trunk all the way around is likely to kill the tree, you can use a specific tree girdling technique to increase fruit yield in a few species. Girdling for fruit production is a frequently used technique on peach and nectarine trees. Should you girdle fruit trees? Read on for more information about tree girdling techniques.

What is Tree Girdling?

Tree girdling for fruit production is an accepted practice in commercial peach and nectarine production. Girdling involves cutting out a thin strip of bark from around the trunk or branches. You have to use a special girdling knife and make sure you don’t cut deeper than the cambium layer, the layer of wood just under the bark.

This type of girdling interrupts the flow of carbohydrates down the tree, making more food available for fruit growth. The technique should only be used for certain fruit trees.

Why Should You Girdle Fruit Trees?

Don’t start girdling fruit trees randomly or without learning the proper tree girdling technique. Girdling the wrong trees or the wrong way can kill a tree quickly. Experts recommend girdling a tree to enhance fruit production only for two types of fruit trees. These are peach and nectarine trees.

Girdling for fruit production can result in bigger peaches and nectarines, more fruit per tree, and an earlier harvest. In fact, you may be able to start harvesting fruit 10 days earlier than if you don’t use this tree girdling technique.

Although many home gardeners do not perform girdling for fruit production, it is a standard practice for commercial producers. You can try these tree girdling techniques without damaging your trees if you proceed with caution.

Tree Girdling Techniques

In general, this form of girdling is done about four to eight weeks prior to harvest. Earlier varieties may need to be done four weeks after blooming, which is about four weeks before their normal harvest. Also, it is advised that you not thin peach or nectarine fruit and girdle the trees simultaneously. Instead, allow at least four or five days between the two.

You’ll need to use special tree girdling knives if you are girdling for fruit production. The knives remove a very thin strip of bark.

You only want to girdle tree branches that are at least 2 inches (5 cm.) in diameter where they attach to the tree trunk. Cut the girdle in an “S” shape. The beginning and ending cuts should never be connected, but finish about an inch (2.5 cm.) apart.

Do not girdle trees until they are four years old or older. Pick your timing carefully. You should perform the tree girdling technique before pit-hardening during April and May (in the U.S.).

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Penza region - Plant a forest

How long have you been interested in environmental issues? And how did you decide that you should be the organizer of eco-initiatives, and not be limited to just a personal choice of an eco-friendly lifestyle?

It all started in 2010. My social friends suggested that I become a regional coordinator in the ECA environmental movement. My first task as coordinator was to plant 100,000 trees in the region. And I successfully coped with it thanks to the support of my friends in the Penza region. And already in the spring of 2011, as part of the More Oxygen! ECA movement in the Penza region planted the required number of trees and created 100 school nurseries. It was my first experience of organizing a large-scale eco-project. Despite the difficulties, we succeeded.

I was then a 2nd year student majoring in Environmental Engineering. When at the rally I met guys from all over Russia who were inspired by environmental issues, I didn’t want to stop there, to stay within the framework of my specialty, especially since I became a public figure at school.

Our movement began to develop, other directions and projects appeared, which we have been implementing for 7 years in the Penza region.

Which eco-project has become the most significant for you and causes particular pride?

I am proud of our project “More Oxygen!” – massive volunteer tree planting and education on the topic of forest conservation. During the program "More Oxygen!" With the participation of teachers and schoolchildren, under the leadership of ECA activists, 10 million trees were planted and 5,000 school nurseries were created in more than 40 regions of Russia.

In the Penza Region, 250,000 seedlings and 10 kg of seeds were planted over 10 stages of the program, and 235 school nurseries were created. Thanks to this project, a large number of schoolchildren learned about the problems of forest conservation, got acquainted with the rules for planting trees and personally took part in the creation of a school nursery.

What are the main components of an ecological lifestyle?

I think you can start with a few simple steps.

The first is to change disposable bags and containers for reusable eco-bags and mugs. For half a year, one family spends about 100 plastic bags, the use time of which does not exceed an average of 15 minutes, but the decomposition period in a landfill is from 100 to 200 years. No less harmful are allegedly eco-friendly paper bags, the production of which takes a huge amount of forest resources. Eco bags are designed for long-term reusable use.

Eco bags, like reusable bottles and mugs, save both personal and natural resources.

The second is to follow the principle of "The second life of things." Approximately 120 million working mobile phones are sent to the scrap every year just because they are tired of their owners. Trucks with these gadgets can encircle the entire globe. Therefore, it is much more efficient to give away things you are tired of, give them at free markets or give them to those in need.

The third is the use of environmentally friendly household chemicals. Every year, hundreds of thousands of tons of phosphates contained in washing powders enter the country's water bodies through sewers. It is very harmful for rivers and lakes. A worthy replacement for "poisonous" household chemicals can be traditional folk remedies.

You can also choose from ethical and sustainable brands on the market.

Now there are a lot of examples of how easy it is to make your home eco-friendly. Those who are interested in this topic can find a lot of information and examples on the Internet.

How do you rate progress in instilling an eco-thinking into the younger generation you work with?

For three years, our movement, with the support of various partners, has been developing and organizing interactive eco-lessons on various topics: water and energy conservation, separate waste collection, climate change, etc. During this time, a large number of teachers and schoolchildren around the world have taken part in them. country. For example, in the Penza region, about 150 teachers regularly conduct such lessons. Therefore, we can safely say that schoolchildren are aware of environmental problems and are implementing their projects. But in order not to have a consumer attitude to nature, consciousness must be changed in all generations. In my opinion, in order to speed up this process, it is necessary that every year in Russia be the Year of Ecology - albeit not officially, but in the heads and hearts of as many people as possible.

Outdoor Micro Drip Irrigation

Outdoor Micro Drip Irrigation

An automatic irrigation system is a structure that includes materials and equipment that automates the process of watering lawns, shrubs, trees and other vegetation on the territory of suburban areas, cottage villages, state and municipal institutions, in greenhouses, greenhouse complexes and other facilities owned by individuals and legal entities.

Micro-drip irrigation on open ground is carried out mainly through the use of drip hoses. They are often 16mm hoses with droppers (holes) already in place, but not just “holes”, but just droppers inserted and molded into the hose. The distances between these droppers are the same, but initially they differ, i.e. you can choose hoses with a distance between droppers of 30 cm, or you can choose with a distance of 40 cm, and so on - to taste and color. The advantage of hoses as such in comparison with the same nozzles is that they distribute water directly at the ground surface and do not flood the leaves and trunks of plants. This advantage makes it possible to use drip hoses in shrubs and flower beds that are “afraid” of water getting on leaves or inflorescences. In addition, drip hoses can encircle a tree within the boundaries of the near-stem circle and not water the trunk itself. The disadvantages of drip hoses are inconvenience in maintenance (if necessary, walk with a rake and remove excess foliage, for example), visual unsightliness, but most importantly, relative fragility, as over time, droppers “overgrow” or become clogged with debris and other particles. By the way, the diameter of irrigation (impregnation) of the earth around one such dropper is about 30-40 centimeters, which must be taken into account when distributing adjacent hoses.

Any plant needs enough moisture for proper growth and development. One of the best options to provide plantings on open ground with water is micro-drip irrigation. This is a modern irrigation system that is economical and can operate automatically.

How micro-drip irrigation works

Micro-drip irrigation on open ground works by supplying water through special droppers directly to the roots of plants. The system includes the following elements:

  • Water supply hoses for drippers.
  • Valves for adjusting the supply of fluid to different parts of the system.
  • Masterblock. It filters and regulates the pressure of the water entering the system.
  • Pump. Provides fluid to the system at the correct pressure.

Storage tanks or a water supply can act as a source of water. Both sources can be used at the same time. The main thing is to provide a working pressure in the system from 1 to 3 atmospheres using a pump and a master block.

The peculiarity of how drip irrigation works is in the presence of an additional controller. This is a device that allows you to program the time and mode of irrigation, adjust the water flow.

The simplest version of the controller is a watering timer. But for open ground areas, it is better to use stationary controllers. They allow you to divide the automatic irrigation system into several zones, for each of which an individual water supply mode is configured.

Design and installation details

Proper design of micro-drip irrigation is not very difficult even for non-specialists. The main rule is that the maximum length of the drip tape should remain within the limits in which irrigation will be uniform. If the length is exceeded, at the beginning of the tape, moisture will be too strong, at the end, there will be no watering at all.

This parameter depends on the water consumption per meter of tape. For example, if it is 10 l/m, then the belt length limit will be 70 m. With a flow rate of 3 l/m, the belt length limit will be 180 m.

It is necessary to calculate in advance the total length of the drip irrigation system. This will allow you to find out the required water flow for your site.

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