Vandalism - The vandal will never go away, and no amount of punishment will deter them. There are 2 ways that we may be able to reduce tree injuries caused by vandals: 1) Do not plant trees with large lower branches near walkways; 2) use proper protection for trees. Vandals often delight in tearing branches from young trees. Where a known high risk vandal area exists, it is better not to plant the tree. Again, the answer may be larger trees. There is still another part to this story. It involves the person who is not a vandal, but still causes injury to trees. The person who thinks that a nice piece of birch bark cut from about the trunk really won't hurt the tree. Or the people who believe, removing wood from a forest or field, will increase the health of the system. Or, the nails and screws in the young tree to hold the dog rope won't hurt the tree. The list is a long one. The answer to this problem is education; an awareness program. It is our responsibility to let people know that trees can only take so much abuse before they die, i.e., in forest, fields and cites. Soil is important. Back to the vandal. The vandal may attempt to kill beautiful trees by girdling them-cutting the bark away completely about the trunk. I have seen this. Many times the vandal will not girdle the tree completely. If you can get to such an injured tree soon enough, the mossing and plastic technique may save the tree. Put wet moss all about the wound, and wrap the entire wound area with black plastic. Make certain that the tree receives proper amounts of water. Do not fertilize the injured tree. After at least 4 to 6 months, carefully remove the plastic and check the wound. If all has gone well, there will be bridges of cambium, or even new bark over portions of the wound. This method works best in the warmer the region. On subtropical trees it works very well. The mossing and plastic technique can also be used where rodents have gnawed the base of trees. On very valuable trees, bridge grafts may be possible. The mossing and plastic should still be done to help the tree while the grafts are being done. And, there is still one more type of vandal; the very center of Dante's rings. The vandal that injures trees for profit. The person who knows that the treatments are causing more harm than benefit, e.g., USFS “Painter Run Windthrow Salvage Project.” They are out there! Note: “Chainsaw Control” rather than “gun control” needs to be considered.
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