In the year 2,000, with funding provided by TransAlta Corporation, and some supplies from some local business, Bow Valley Habitat Development wrapped 350 cottonwoods on Jumpingpound Creek. The program goal was to protect some of the remaining stands of native cottonwood trees, along the entire course of the JP Creek. The quickly vanishing riparian habitat along area streams has resulted in significant loss of native mature cottonwoods. The design of the slip wire method of wrapping trees with heavy wire mesh was created specifically for this program, by Guy Woods, Director of Bow Valley Habitat Development.
Portions of this article are copied from the report:
Jumpingpound Creek Riparian Protection and Enhancement Project – Tree Wrapping Program, |Jumpingpound Creek 2000 Fisheries Project|, TransAlta Corporation. May 12th, 2001. Report prepared by Guy Woods and submitted to TransAlta.
The tree wrapping occurred on areas of the CL Ranch, south of the Trans Canada Highway, downstream to the private property, near the mouth on the Bow River. In the spring of 2013 an assessment of the tree wrapping was completed and some photos that were taken during that inspection are used in this article.
The whole idea of this method of using a slip wire loop to hold the wire mesh in place and also allow the tree to grow thru the years, has proven successful. The type of heavy mesh used for chicken wire has changed since this particular use in the turn of the millennia. Now, chicken wire is really thin and it is impossible to find the heavy stuff anymore, so a square mesh that is galvanized is the new choice. My recommendations are to use the 2 inch square mesh. The slip wire technique will still work perfectly good.
The loop weaving must be done in a fashion that allows the loop to slide easily, so you try to keep it in a straight weave with no kinks.
The tree wrapping team consisted of two assistants and myself. I was trying to find the records of time invested but they seen to have disappeared with time. It is hard work, if you are planning on wrapping a lot of trees. Since that first use of the slip wire technique, I have given workshops on this method, with Branches and Banks of Cochrane and the World Youth Program, along with staff from the town of Cochrane. It is worthwhile to do a good job of tree wrapping, especially if your mature planted trees are at risk, or there are native cottonwoods at stake.
The mesh must be at least one metre in height. Once secured, the mesh will protect the tree for many years.
The amount of overlap required on each tree varies, so you have to measure the circumference of the tree, allow for tree growth, so you may wish to leave half the half the circumference in overlap. This means you add half the circumference to the full measurement, to figure out overlap. So if the tree has a circumference of 30 inches, just add 15 inches for overlap and this will be the length of the mesh that you need to cut. A length of 45 inches. The slip wires for the loops will have to be double the length of the overlap and add 4 inches for twisting the wire ends together to form a loop. So, based on an overlap of 15 inches, the wire should measure 30 inches, plus 4 inches, makes 34 inches. Cut three lengths of the wire for the required three loops.
The fence staples should be standard fence post size. The majority of the staples length will be going thru a thick covering of tree bark. On cottonwoods, this bark is pretty thick on the more mature trees.