What Is a Branch Collar on a Tree?

What is a branch collar on a tree? The short answer is that it’s one of the ways a tree heals an injury. However, the professionals at Spruce Up Tree Care, your tree trimming experts in Memphis, explain there’s more to it than that. 

Read on to learn more about this interesting topic. 

What Is a Branch Collar on a Tree? 

This is a raised area that marks the change from trunk to tree branches. This growth, commonly referred to as a branch union, is a thick callus at the base of the limb that supports the new growth. It may also look like wrinkles on the underside of the branch. 

You may also see a wrinkled area where a branch meets the trunk. We call this the bark ridge, but it’s usually n the opposite side. Don’t confuse the two because damage to the latter is seldom fatal, but damage to the collar can be. 

To understand why, we need to look at how trees heal. 

How Trees Heal

When a branch breaks, sap leaks out of the tree, and it responds by sealing the area. The protective growth dries out and becomes a callus. The branch collar generates cells in rings, with each successive layer getting closer to the center of the injury. 

This action allows the tree to heal over time, so any damage to the branch collars means that the tree can’t seal off wounds properly. If weak, dying branches break off in a storm and natural healing doesn’t occur, moisture seeps in. The tree is then more vulnerable to infection and decay. 

Now that you can answer “What is a branch collar on a tree?” let’s look at how you can damage these vital calluses. 

Bad Tree Pruning

Many people misunderstand the reason for trimming their trees. They may feel it’s all about maintaining a pleasant shape rather than considering the tree’s overall health. What’s even worse is that there are many conflicting beliefs when it comes to pruning cuts.

Heard of any of these? These are all common tips you can find online, and they’re all wrong: 

  • Using a sealant to close up the cut traps moisture in the wound, delaying healing. 
  • Always leaving the nubs means that the collar is too far to do any good.
  • Cutting branches straight against the trunk means removing the collar. 
  • Making a straight cut when you prune bigger branches increases the chances of tears along the trunk. 

What to Do Instead

Always look for the branch collar and keep it as intact as possible. If you’re unsure how to do this, consider hiring an arborist. 

Call the Professionals at Spruce Up Tree Care

Now that you can answer “What is a branch collar on a tree?” you should learn about the dangers of an over-pruned tree. If you need help tidying up your trees or accidentally damaged one while pruning it, call Spruce Up Tree Care at (901) 833-8242 for a professional consultation. 


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