We also had our SAR day. It was a chance for the company to come together and discuss where we are, where we want to be, and what we think we can do better. It made me realise what a great bunch of people I work with. They are passionate, knowledgeable and very, very good fun!
Congratulations to Angus Francis from Hi- Line, who completed his portfolio on Thursday, and flies off to New Zealand on Monday to work there for a while. He says he will be back in a few months, but I somehow think this is the start of something else for Angus……
Good luck to him, and well done on achieving the apprenticeship.
FOCUS on……….Heal or seal?
Once a branch like this has broken off, it opens up the water conducting vessels to the air. These are great ways for infections to get in. So the tree has to make sure that eventually this way in is shut off. There are some things that happen in trees immediately when an injury occurs. Recent research has shown that an electrical signal, very similar to our nerve impulses travels from the point of injury, through the tree. Essentially it is a signal telling the tree that something has happened. This then triggers a series of events that will eventually cover the wound, but these later reactions are much slower and can take weeks, months or even years to complete.
The tissue under the callus is very dead indeed, and the tree is not going to replace that with living tissue. Healing would be where the original tissue was reformed, just like when we cut ourselves and it heals up by producing new healthy living tissue.
Trees can only seal.
Eventually the wound will be covered like this, with only a small scar visible, and the risk of infection is now massively reduced. Underneath this cap though, there can still be dead or infected tissue, but the tree has options for dealing with this. That will be dealt with another time!!
So why does any of this matter to tree surgeons? Well, put simply, it doesn’t matter how good we think we are at pruning trees, the tree treats our pruning wounds in exactly the same way as if we were a squirrel gnawing the bark, or a storm tearing our branches off. If we are going to work on trees, and try and help them to survive after we have pruned them, then we need to work with the tree itself to try and make sure we give it the best chance.
You can see a ring of callus growth most of the way across the wound. The callus is almost a perfect circle, so the wound is healing equally from all sides. This should speed up the process of covering the wound
The black ‘moustache’ above the pruning wound is called the ‘branch, bark ridge’. It is the place where the bark from branch and stem meet, and push each other up into a ridge. It can be used on some species that don’t have very pronounced branch collars as a guide to where to cut.
Bad cuts like this are all too common, and shows that the person doing the job didn’t understand the process of pruning, or the possible repercussions of getting it wrong. There are British Standards for working with, in particular BS 3998 refers to the best practice way of pruning.
Most people actually wouldn’t even notice, or for that matter care, but as professionals we should. We need to educate the people who employ us to work on their trees, so that they understand what we are doing and why. If they understand why we do things a particular way, and realise that we actually know what we are talking about, they will value us and our profession more, and then the people who do poor jobs like this one will hopefully be fewer.
It takes a lot of skill and knowledge to be a tree surgeon, people don’t generally see that. The only way we can change that perception is by engaging the public, educating them, and most importantly, just doing a good job.