Have you ever looked at a tree trunk and wondered why a metal collar had been placed around it? Chances are, you’ve seen this at least once or twice.There’s also a better than average chance that you’ve wondered what these types of collars are for. It’s almost comical how some people barely even notice their existence while others are completely distracted by them, largely because they believe that these metal collars are so unsightly. There’s certainly no doubt that they look somewhat unique, as they aren’t exactly part of the natural landscape. However, they do actually serve a genuine purpose. Whether you love them or hate them, you might be interested to know why they are sometimes used. More importantly, you may need to know this information in order to protect trees on your own property. After all, it’s a lot better to put up with a few trees that have metal bands around them than to call someone to come in and dig up dead trees and then haul them away.
Why Do People Wrap Metal Collars Around Trees?
This is the age-old question. Almost everyone in every part of the United States has seen at least a few trees with these metal bands around them. The question is, why are they there? A lot of people think that they’re there to support the tree trunk itself, to keep it from breaking under it’s on weight as the tree grows. The fact of the matter is that the metal band has absolutely nothing to do with supporting the tree. As a matter of fact, that metal band has to be changed out periodically as the tree grows in order to prevent it from essentially stifling the tree’s growth all together. If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking that sounds like a lot of hassle, not to mention a certain amount of expense involved in having the process done repeatedly over the years as the tree gets bigger and bigger. It’s true, there is a certain amount of cost involved and you do have to be diligent in order to ensure that the band doesn’t get too tight around the trunk of the tree. If you have to do all of these things, what’s the point in using these collars to begin with? Surprisingly, it all comes down to a matter of pest control. That’s right, it has absolutely nothing to do with the tree itself. It’s all about keeping unwanted pests away from the trees so they don’t climb up the trunk and end up nesting. Depending on where you live, the pests in question may vary somewhat but more will be discussed about that issue later on. For now, you need to know that the reason the bands exist in the first place is because it’s almost impossible for any kind of pests that would otherwise climb up the trunk to manage the slippery metal surface. As a result, it’s much more difficult for them to climb up the trunk of the tree. That means that you’re not nearly as likely to have certain pests on your property, at least not in your trees.
How Are These Collars Applied?
There are a couple of different ways that these types of collars can be applied to the trunk of a tree. If you consider yourself the hands-on type and you want to save some money, you can go to virtually any nursery and purchase these types of bands and put them on yourself. One word of warning, they’re not exactly easy to put on. You might be able to get away with it if you only have a few trees that you want to put bands on, but if you have a number of them you would probably be doing yourself a favor to hire a professional to do it on your behalf. Otherwise, it won’t take very long before you end up spending all of your time trying to put these bands on tree trunks and getting little else done. Unless you have all the time in the world to spend on such things, it can become a fairly frustrating prospect. That said, you have to apply the bands according to the size of the tree trunk and then fasten them around the trunk itself. As you can probably imagine, fastening a sheet metal band around a tree isn’t exactly the easiest task in the world. Typically, they’re fastened with rivets, nails or in some cases, even a heavy duty glue that can be used outdoors. This is done in cases where it’s not advisable to use nails because you may not always want to drive projectiles into your tree trunks, for obvious reasons. By now, you’re probably beginning to see why a lot of people make the decision to call a professional in order to do this as opposed to doing it themselves. Sheet metal can be frustrating to work with and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can cut yourself so it may not be a project that you feel up to tackling unless you only have one or two problem trees on your property. Who are you supposed to call if you do choose to hire a professional for something like this? Your best bet is to start calling both pest control services and nurseries in your area so you can get as much information as possible. That will allow you to move forward with well educated choices as opposed to merely taking a shot in the dark and hoping that you get what you want without damaging your trees.
Back to the Pests
It’s already been explained why these types of bands are used, and that’s largely to keep certain pests from climbing up the trunks so they can nest in the trees themselves. That said, you may be wondering whether or not this is the only thing you can do to control the pest issue. After all, it’s worth asking because it’s not the easiest solution out there. A lot of people start to wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to simply hire an exterminator and have them take care of potential pests the old-fashioned way. That’s all well and good, but there is a potential issue with all of that, which is the reason why people started using metal bands on tree trunks in the first place. Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of using pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals on their property. That’s true of anyone who cares about the environment and it’s especially true of people who have young children or pets that are running around the property. Hiring an exterminator is effective in getting rid of pests and there’s no question about that. That said, it’s also possible for these types of techniques to inadvertently cause harm. There’s not a homeowner alive that sets out with the intention of potentially harming their child because they got into some chemical residue that they shouldn’t have come into contact with, nor is there a pet owner alive who would do anything that would intentionally jeopardize the life of their best friend, yet it happens all the time. It simply isn’t possible to have chemicals around that are designed to kill pests and that are strong enough to get the job done without there being a potential risk involved that something could potentially go wrong and hurt somebody else unintentionally. You also have to consider the potential that these types of chemicals are getting into the groundwater that you and your family are drinking. It’s highly unlikely that you’re comfortable with that possibility, which is one of the main reasons that so many people have decided to go with metal bands around tree trunks as opposed to calling an exterminator. There are no dangerous chemicals involved here and the metal bands are used to serve as a deterrent to keep pests away as opposed to poisoning them after the fact. Granted, there’s a lot more hassle involved with using this method but it’s also much safer. As a homeowner, you have to weigh those costs along with the potential benefits associated with each pest control method. You then have to decide for yourself which one is the best choice. It isn’t going to be the same choice for every person involved and that’s okay. Ultimately, you have to decide what you should do with regard to your own property in order to keep your family safe.
Metal Collars and Squirrels
Now that you know exactly why the collars are used, it’s time to learn how effective they are. One of the biggest pest populations that they are designed to control involves squirrels. It’s worth noting that some people absolutely love squirrels and others aren’t so crazy about them to begin with. Granted, some people don’t have a problem with squirrels being in their yard. That said, they can do a great deal of damage to your property and that’s precisely why some people absolutely can’t stand to have them on their property to begin with. Furthermore, they may not be so bad if you only have a few squirrels that show up every once in a while, but if you have an entire colony of them that decide to settle in on your property, it can be a different story entirely. That’s precisely why these types of metal bands are used to control the squirrel population in some areas. If you’ve ever had a situation where squirrels have gotten into your attic and wreaked absolute havoc on your home, then you have a better understanding of just how much damage these types of animals can really do to your property. They might look cute from a distance, but when a lot of people have a tendency to describe squirrels as rats with furry tails, they’re not entirely wrong in their assessment. There is a reason that they describe them in this manner and that’s because they actually have a tendency to do a lot of the same things that rats would do such as chew through your wiring, make a mess inside your attic and leave you with a lot of very expensive bills for pest control services and repairs.
Speaking of rats, you might be horrified to know that they can also climb up the trunks of trees. It’s absolutely horrifying to imagine this possibility, but it’s also true. There isn’t a person alive that can honestly say that they’re not deeply troubled by the idea of rats crawling up the trunks of their trees and then nesting inside the trees themselves, all with the potential of dropping down right in front of you when you least expect it. If you think that’s bad, imagine the possibility of walking underneath one of the trees on your property, only to have a rat jump out of it and land right on top of your head. This is absolutely terrifying and it sounds like some type of scenario directly from a horror film, but it can and does happen. The worst thing about rats climbing up into your trees is that they’re often doing so to gain access to your house. Again, it comes back to the story of pests getting into your attic. They have to gain access somehow and it’s not really that uncommon for them to climb up a tree trunk, get in the tree and then make their way from that location to your home. From there, they have direct access to your attic and the rest of your home. When you think about it like that, you’re probably a lot more apt to be in favor of the metal bands that go around tree trunks so you don’t have to deal with the possibility of such a thing. After all, the thought of rats crawling through your trees and into your attic isn’t exactly the most comforting thing to think about in the middle of the night, is it? When it’s all said and done, you have to find an effective way to keep your home safe from various types of pests and the metal bands that go around tree trunks is one way to do exactly that. Furthermore, it’s a way to accomplish that goal without using potentially dangerous chemicals. In short, it’s something that you should think about if you’re a homeowner, especially if you start to notice signs of pests on your property. It could potentially keep you from having to deal with pests getting inside the very home where you and your family sleep.