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Trees/Birch bark skins

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Question
Hello Jim, I'm considering buying Birch bark skins from a lumber yard in northern New England, and was curious about the safety of the process for the trees - in what instances are they harmed? Are there cases of standing dead trees that make it more sustainable? And how about de-limbing branches for decorative or architectural use - are those process' more or less benign than skinning the bark? Thanks - Alan

Answer
If you are getting these from a lumber yard they more than likely came from cut tree or logs. You can harm standing living trees IF you cut the bark into the cambium layer (usually green in color) and cut bark all the way around the trunk and this will girdle the tree and kill it. You can safely cut the loose bark off paper birch without harming the tree. Pruning branches from a tree will not harm it as long as long as you leave at least 1/3 to 1/2 of the live branches on the tree. Dead branches can be cut off with no problem to the tree. Here is a web link about paper birch nark peeling.
http://nrd.kbic-nsn.gov/PDF/GatheringHarvestingUseofBirchBark.pdf

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Jim Hyland

Expertise

I am an expert in Forestry, Forest Entomology, Forest Pest Control, and Forest Health. Extensive knowledge in Identification of insects and diseases of trees. Expert on Bark beetles and other insects that attack forests. Also a Registrated Forester with extensive knowledge in the management and care of forests.

Experience

34 years as State Pest Management Chief in a Southern state. Extensive knowledge in Forestry.

BS with major in Forest Management and Entomology
Registered Forester
Certified Pesticide Appicator

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