CODIT is a name that most people are unfamiliar with. Arborists use it to describe how a tree reacts to pruning wounds and other physical damage. In order for your tree service to manage the trees on your property effectively, this concept needs to be well-integrated into their approach.
What is CODIT?
It stands for compartmentalization of decay or damage within trees. As a result of mechanical injury or simply pruning a branch, it is a term used in the tree care industry to describe what happens when a tree is wounded. Damaged or diseased areas are isolated from healthy tissue surrounding wounds by this natural process.
Its purpose is to resist or prevent the spread of pathogens into the wood exposed by the injury. It also functions to separate a branch that has died from the living portion it is attached to. In essence, it resists the entry of decay-causing pathogens into the exposed wood.
How effectively a tree responds to pruning wounds is determined by the size of the cut and the position of the cut. If it’s too close to the trunk, the response is less effective, and decay is likely. If a large branch is cut to a stub, decay will spread down the branch, weakening its structure.
In the strictest sense, trees don’t heal a wound. They simply close wounds if they’re not too large, and form a protective barrier (compartment) behind the injured wood. Trees that are poorly pruned are more prone to decay and less stable. So, the bottom line is how a tree is pruned makes all the difference.
CODIT & Tree Maintenance
Why should you care about a tree's resistance to decay? First of all, trees are valuable. Additionally, they improve property values, provide shade, and reduce energy consumption. Benefits increase with the size of the tree.
Trees, like any other investment, require maintenance to maintain reasonable safety. Tree longevity and safety are diminished by poor, sub-standard pruning practices that can initiate decay, sometimes leading to branch or whole-tree failure.
Arborists and scientists support CODIT's concept. Despite the importance of CODIT, some tree services haven't embraced it. My career has been filled with countless examples of pruning mistakes, and the negative effects they can have on trees. When trees aren't pruned according to current standards, their useful lives are shortened.
When pruning a tree, several things should be taken into consideration. Sometimes it is the weight distribution of the tree, the light distribution in the tree or simply the aesthetic value of the pruning. Regardless of the desired outcome, the best placement of a pruning cut using the CODIT model should be on the forefront of the practitioner’s mind.
Ask your Tree Care Specialist about CODIT
Next time you hire someone to prune your tree, ask them about industry pruning standards and CODIT. You may be able to extend the life of your tree for decades if you use CODIT properly, as opposed to relying on someone who doesn't understand its significance.