Pine Tree Bark Removal

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Remove tree bark to reduce a pine tree's rot susceptibility.
Remove tree bark to reduce a pine tree's rot susceptibility. (Image: pine-tree image by Maxim Prikhodko from Fotolia.com)

The best time of year for pine tree bark removal comes in early summer when the sap runs beneath the bark. The sap travels throughout the tree to provide its new growth with nutrients. If the tree is cut down during this time, the bark practically peels off the tree. If this isn't an option, cut the tree down and wait six months for it to dry. As it dries, the bark will shrink away from the inner cambium layer. Pine tree bark is removed to increase the longevity of fence posts and poles. It also keeps unwanted insects out of cords of firewood.

Uncontrolled Peeling

Peeling works best on younger pine trees, especially when producing sap, but it's also possible to peel an older tree. Slide a drawknife beneath the bark at either end of the tree. Use the drawknife to get the bark to lift up off the cambium layer. Grab the lifted bark and peel it up and away from the tree. Continue lifting and peeling until all of the bark has been removed. Short and long strips will peel off.

Controlled Peeling

Cut parallel lines along the length of the tree with the tip of a chainsaw. Cut only as deep as the bark runs. Space these lines about 6 inches apart. When you're done cutting, it will look like you just made pinstripes up and down the tree's length. Lift the strips with a drawknife and pull them up and away from the cambium layer of the tree. Cutting the bark in this manner will allow you to pull the bark off the tree in long, even strips. Use safety glasses when using a chainsaw.

Dry Peeling

Straddle one end of the tree between your legs. Sit down on the bark and hold the drawknife out in front of you. Drag the knife along the bark until it cuts beneath it. Pull the knife toward your thighs to peel away a layer of bark. The design of a drawknife won't allow you to cut yourself using this technique. Move down along the length of the tree until you've removed an entire length of bark. It will peel off in short pieces, because the bark is dry. Roll the tree over a little after every peel until the entire tree has been peeled. Wear leather gloves when peeling away dry bark.

Pressure Washing

Hook a garden hose to a pressure washer. Start the pressure washer depending on what type you have. Some are gas powered and some are electric. Hold the spray gun about 12 inches away from the bark and spray a steady stream of water at it. Get closer to the bark until the water pressure blows the bark off the tree. Use the tip that allows for a 0 degree water stream. This will ensure the most direct pressure. Be careful not to get the stream too close or you'll end up cutting into the cambium layer of the tree. Wear safety glasses when using a pressure washer.

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