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Laketown Township officials discourage tree carving in parks and public spaces

Posted at 4:36 PM, Jul 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-22 16:36:52-04

LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Laketown Township officials discourage the public from carving into trees at township parks.

While carving into a tree probably wouldn’t directly result in the tree’s death, damaged bark deprives the tree of vital protection, according to naturalist Sarah Irvin.

“Xylem and phloem allow for the transfer of water, sugar and nutrients throughout the tree, from roots to leaves and back,” says Irvin. “Disruptions in the connectivity of the xylem and the phloem prevents the tree from sending resources where they are needed and can lead to the death of branches. In extreme cases, if the carvings disrupt a straight line around a tree, the carvings girdle the tree, killing the entire tree.”

We’re told beech trees are particularly vulnerable due to possible beech bark disease, which can kill the tree in three to six years after infection.

Furthermore, carving trees in public spaces violates a township ordinance and can result in fines, the township says.

As an alternative to tree carving, the public is asked to align stones or twigs together to spell a person’s name. Writing and drawing in sand is also acceptable.

“Public parks are for everyone to enjoy and appreciate with minimal intrusion of human-dominant influences,” says Marcia Perry with the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals. “Wounding trees hurts everybody by degrading the forest and the park experience.”

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