Time To Gather Bark!

The view outside my window as I write this. Beautiful.

I'm sitting here on yet another snow day for the Northfield School District - #6 in the past 2 weeks! I sub as an educational assistant, so the canceled days affect my schedule, too. Admittedly, I do enjoy a day off now and then, but this is the 6th day in the past 2 weeks, so it's getting a bit old, especially as I don't get paid if I don't work. But, I am sitting here enjoying a beautiful snow falling outside my window. I am so blessed.

It may not look like it outside my window, but it is bark gathering time! I typically start in February and stop by mid-March. This is the best time for bark gathering as the plants energy/medicinal constituents are concentrated in its bark at this point.

Here are a few tips about gathering bark - also review my previous blog on Basic Tincture Making.

Branch trimmings for making tincture of Prickly Ash Bark
Note the green cambium layer on this branch. A tincture is made using the outer bark, inner bark, and the green cambium layers. Compost the leftover white wood.

1. Be certain you are getting bark from the correct tree! Bark from a different tree will not have the same energetics/useful constituents and may even be harmful. Be certain!

2. Carefully cut off a few small branches, keeping in mind what will be best for the tree. For example: Keep the cut clean so it can heal over quickly and completely. Don't strip any larger branch of a tree. If there are suckers at the base of the tree, use those to help the tree out. Only take what you need. If you end up with extra, you can make a tea or dry it for tea in the future.

3. Using a dull paring knife, trim off the outer bark through the green cambium of the branches. Put those shavings loosely in a jar, filling about ¼ full. Compost the remaining white wood of the branch.

4. Fill with alcohol of choice and continue with directions from the previous Basic Tincture Making post.