We plant trees every day, and every time we leave the twine, burlap, and wire basket on the root ball. We trim the twine and burlap so it’s not emerging above ground and when wrapped around the trunk and to also reduce the risk of girdling the tree trunk.
What is girdling? This is basically strangulation of the tree. It is also known as ring-barking If the twine is left to wrap around the tree, it will continue to grow, but it will eventually kill the tree as it restricts nutrients and water from circulating up the tree to the branches and foliage.
As for the rest of the materials, we leave them on!
“But won’t this effect my trees?” We get this question a lot.
And the answer is no! The burlap and twine on the root ball are made of natural fibers which will degrade over time. Burlap is also a woven fabric with openings. This allows for the roots to go between the fibers.
As for the wire basket, it’s not degradable. However, roots, no matter small they might be at first, are very smart and continuously get stronger. If roots hit a road block, they simply work their way around it. The wire presents no threat to the health and growth of the plant.
Taking off the twine, wire and burlap actually poses a larger threat to the plant. The burlap holds the root ball together. The twine is sometimes secured around the whole rootball or keeping the burlap attached to the base of the trunk. The twine secures the burlap. The wire basket is usually used on larger trees. This further secures the root ball being kept together and also helps make it easier to plant.