Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What is a Collar?

The collar is an important part of a tree's anatomy, and is especially important for those pruning trees to understand it's purpose. The collar is the folded bark tissue around the base of a branch. The image below is a great example of a collar found on an apple tree. Sometimes they are not so distinct.

Collar on an Apple Tree
The collar's purpose is to aid in the healing of a cut branch. The next image shows various stages of a collar closing over the wound.

Collars in Varied Stages of Healing
In the January 23rd, 2013 post we discussed the importance of removing "stubs". While this is important, it is even more important to leave the collar intact, even if it requires leaving a small portion of the branch sticking out from the trunk as shown in the following image.

Good Pruning Cut Example
Notice that the ridge remains undisturbed. Also notice the angle at which the cut was made. Cutting a branch perpendicular to the direction of the branch minimizes the surface area of the cut. If the branch was cut vertical to the ground it would open up more area, causing the healing process to take longer than necessary.

If a pruning cut is too large, or the collar is damaged in the pruning process It will delay the healing process and may risk your tree rotting before it is able to heal. Once this process has entered your tree it will continue into the trunk of your tree weakening it, increasing the risk of premature death and/or a loss of structural integrity.

Improper Pruning Can Introduce Rotting of Your Trees Interior

For more information regarding the pruning terms used in this post, visit our pruning page for a complete outline of how to properly prune your fruit tree.