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All over the world various materials have been used to protect trees and plants via wrapping. Reasons include the prevention of weed growth, protection from frost or sun-scalding, to maintain moisture levels and to keep insects and animals from gnawing at the tree bark. 


It has also been proven that tending to and hugging your trees, and watching them thrive relieves stress and anxiety. During Covid, the Icelandic Forest Service (IFS) encouraged residents to hug a tree for at least 5 minutes to combat loneliness. Forest manager Þór Þorfinnsson said “When you hug a tree, you feel it first in your toes and then up your legs and into your chest, and then up into your head.” 


Natural or biodegradable tree wraps can be made from many materials, and particular cultures have their preferred choice. Artist Philippa Lawrence used naturally-dyed bandages to wrap dead trees in her project ‘Bound’. In Japan komo-maki - or straw belts - are wrapped around pine trees, a practice dating back to the Edo period.


In the UK we use a variety of materials for tree wrapping including burlap, plastic, fleece and yarn. I wanted to use a material that was natural and that could change as the tree did. The answer was my cordyline leaves. They are malleable when saturated in water, very hardwearing when dry, and allow water to drain. The structure of weaving allows the leaves to breath with the tree and makes it very easy to tuck and untuck the weave all the way round the tree trunk. Unlike many tree wrappings which hang over the tree, my cordyline weaves are secured around the tree like two arms reaching out for a hug.

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