A Survey of Wounding Frequency among Trees found in Urban and Forest Environments

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Rumble, David Lee
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University Honors College, Middle Tennessee State University
Trees are exposed to a variety of natural and/or anthropogenic factors that expose internal wood to the external environment, resulting in decay and tree failure. Urban trees are exposed to improper landscaping practices, pruning cuts, soil contamination, and even vandalism. Forest trees are less impacted by anthropogenic activities, but are still susceptible to weather-and pathogen-related damages. To compare these two environments, we measured eight types of common wounds in maple (Acer spp.), hackberry (Celtis spp.), ash (Fraxinus spp.), oak (Quercus spp.), and elm (Ulmus spp.). Urban environments surveyed included college campuses and industrial plazas; forest environments included state parks. All five genera of trees surveyed in urban environments exhibited higher frequencies of wounding in the number of open wounds, small wounds < 2 cm2, girdling roots, open root wounds, and pruning cuts when compared to conspecifics in forest environments. We saw interspecific variation among eight surveyed metrics. Since wounded trees are more likely to fail, posing a risk to humans and property, a reevaluation of arboricultural management practices in urban environments is needed.
Tree, Urban, forest, arboriculture, urban forestry, wound