Wire Woes–When to Remove Wire
We read it all the time. ‘Take wire off before it bites in.’ Many of us actually do this. And only about half the time is it actually what we should do.
So. Wire. On branches. Big problem, right?
To make it simple, the question of when to remove wire is actually broken down into two questions:
1. Is the tree a conifer or a deciduous tree?
2. Is the wire biting in?
And the answers are, if the tree is a conifer, we need to let the wire bite in a little bit before taking it off. If we don’t, the work will be worthless. We’ll have wasted our efforts.
If the tree is deciduous, try (this is nearly impossible, but try anyway) to take it off just before it bites in. If a wire bites into a branch on an old deciduous tree, you might as well cut it off and start again. If it’s a young deciduous tree or young branch, it might grow out of a modest wire scar just fine.
The reasons for the difference? Conifer branches are springy, and need more cambial growth and wood production to ‘set’ the branch. Deciduous branches will set easier, and need less time. Also, conifers tend to mask their branches somewhat with year-round foliage and often rougher bark. Deciduous trees are shy when naked, and prefer to be viewed sans-scars.
If you have a professional waddling around in your back yard and wiring a twig or two, do them the honor of removing the wire at the proper time. For heaven’s sake don’t waste your time and money by taking it off too early. Prevents exasperated revisitations, when they might wire too tightly out of frustration.
Monitoring one’s own work can be tricky enough. I swear I went in to boil water one day and when I came back out a wired maple branch was beyond help. Some use smart phone technology for checking in on their dogs when away; I think we should use it to check in on what our wires are doing on our deciduous when we’re off taking a walk around the block.