University of Maryland Extension

Embedded Wires or Collars - Trees and Shrubs

embedded wire i trunk
Back to Common Problems - Trees and Shrubs

Tree trunks may be deformed or girdled when hose and wires, ropes, or wire basket collars are not removed. The most common staking method consists of two wooden stakes supporting the tree with hose and wire around the trunk. The stakes, hose, and wire should be removed after the first year. Hose and wire or synthetic ropes left on the tree can interfere with the proper growth of the tree. As the trunk grows, the wires can cut into the trunk, restricting or cutting off sap flow. As the trunk caliper increases, the trunk can grow around the wires, causing them to become embedded in the trunk. The tree may also have increased trunk diameter above the wires and be more prone to breakage.

embedded wire

If partially embedded wires are noticed, remove as soon as possible. If the trunk completely encases the wire, it may cause more damage to remove it. Trim excess wire, remove stakes, and monitor the tree, realizing that it will be prone to breakage at the site of the embedded wire.

Wire baskets are used on the root balls of large trees to make them easier to handle. Roots can be girdled when the top of the wire basket is not cut at planting time. The wire should be removed from the top 8-16 " of the root ball during planting. Cut the wire after the plant is situated in the hole at the proper depth and partially backfilled with soil. Some trees may become deformed or prone to breakage at the site where the wires are embedded in the roots. When the top of the wire basket is cut as recommended, roots may encircle the wire with little or no disruption in root function.

Recent research has indicated that trees become established faster when they are not staked. Unstaked trees have better trunk growth and develop a more extensive root system. Staking trees when they are planted is sometimes necessary, especially in areas where trees may be knocked down by wind or vandalism. Staking is still required in many commercial landscape contracts. Proper planting techniques and removing stakes promptly can avoid problems associated with embedded wires.

Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2017. Web Accessibility