In front of our school (Colton, Southern California) are
a row of 12 Crape myrtle trees that a groundsman has used a gas
weedwhacker last year and cut the cambium layer around the whole base of
each. Needless to say the trees are very close to dead. Is there any
way to fix/repair the cambium? I hate the idea of pulling them out and
It may be difficult to rescue them now, but what I would do is a cambial
graft. Ideally, I would cut a healthy square or rectangle of the
cambial layer probably more likely from below (or above) the damaged
area. Trim the top and the bottom edge of the patch at an angle to
increase the contact area of the active cambial layer. I would then cut
out a corresponding patch from the damaged area that will bridge the
wacked area once again at an angle that will match flush with the cut
piece. You will want to place the bark patch in the same orientation as
originally and then bind the trunk with some waxed cloth. At a
well-established plant nursery, they should have grafting materials and
actually grafting expertise.
Good luck. I wish you the best.
Sorry but if the cambium is removed in a ring from around the whole tree
(girdled), then there is nothing that can be done to remedy the situation
at this time.
Anthony Brach Ph.D.
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Update: June 2012