Bark damage is a very real threat to your landscape trees. Holes in the bark or missing bark can leave your tree open to infection from disease or pests. The tree must also expend energy in an attempt to heal bark wounds, which can also lead to weakened growth. Fortunately, you can avoid most bark damage. Continue reading to learn more.

Skip the nail

It may seem like no big deal to hammer a single nail into the tree, whether it's to hang a clothesline or a birdhouse. This is generally true for permanent items, but it's a different story if you only want to hang something on the tree temporarily. While the damage is minimal while the nail is in place, the problem occurs later if you remove the nail and leave behind the exposed hole. Instead, use wide fabric or nylon mesh strips to tie things to the trunk if they are only going to be in place temporarily. Just make sure to check the tie once a season and to loosen it as the tree grows. There are even special ties made for certain types of items. For example, hammock tree slings are available that allow you to quickly put up and take down a hammock without any damage to the tree's bark.

Trim with care

Another common causes of bark damage occurs when you are actually pruning the tree. Incomplete cuts can lead to the tearing off of bark. For small branches that are less than the diameter of your thumb, use a pair of bypass shears to make a clean cut near the collar where the branch joins with the trunk. For larger branches, do a two-part cut with a pruning saw. Start by sawing a notch into the underside of the branch. Then, make the main cut from the top, angling toward your notch. The notch prevents the branch from pulling away from the trunk, taking bark with it, under its own weight.

Protect against outside damage

Whether it's an accidental bump from the lawn mower taking off a chunk of bark or deer pulling off the bark in search of winter nutrition, outside damage an be a real threat to a tree. For mechanical damage concerns, mulching beneath the tree so there is no need to mow or trim weeds near the tree is the best form of prevention. For other threats, like animals, install a metal mesh tree cage around the bottom few feet of the trunk. Just make sure the cage is larger in diameter than the trunk so the tree doesn't become constricted.

Contact a tree service like Mark Crane's Tree & Arborist Services for more help.