When a tree grows, branches divide at a junction, called a fork. Sometimes, two or more branches emerge from one fork. This includes bark. Included bark lacks strong fiber needed to create a structurally sound branch union. When included bark is put under stress (think wind, snow load, or even a heavy canopy) it is susceptible to tear.
Included bark is commonly seen when a tree has co-dominant leaders, or two main branches competing to be the leader. You might notice them as two branches in similar height, growing straight up. Imagine climbing up those two branches, and pushing them apart. Due to the lack of strength in the included bark, they may split at the union.
Now imagine they’re put under that stress from environmental factors. Branches can split off due to the force applied. That’s not a pretty sight. But more importantly, it’s a concern if cars, houses, powerlines or people are nearby.
The best way to avoid included bark is to get your tree pruned by a professional from a young age. If you wait too long, branch removal may not be an option. If a branch is large and established, removing it may create a wound that causes an overall health decline. But maybe you didn’t read this blog in time! Don’t worry, we still have answers for you.
Included bark can be supported by various methods.
- Synthetic cabling
Synthetic cabling is a minimally invasive procedure that involves securing the codominant branches with a soft cable of synthetic fibers. It reduces canopy movement and reduces likelihood of splitting. It has been shown that this can be just as reliable as steel cables.
- Steel cabling
Steel cabling is similar to synthetic cabling, but uses steel wire instead of synthetic fibers.
Bracing is used in severe cases when a tree has two prominent leaders. The branches are drilled into and secured with steel wire and bolts. It is more invasive, so we prefer to do synthetic cabling instead. In the worst cases, bracing may need to be supplemented with synthetic cabling.
If you suspect your tree has included bark, invite a Certified Arborist to assess your tree and the risk of branch failure. They will decide the best plan of action to proceed with.