In woody plants, xylem sap moves upwards through the vessels due to a decreasing gradient of water potential from the groundwater to the foliage. According to these factors and their dynamics, small amounts of sap-compatible liquids (i.e. pesticides) can be injected into the xylem system, reaching their target from inside. This endotherapic method, called "trunk injection" or "trunk infusion" (depending on whether the user supplies an external pressure or not), confines the applied chemicals only within the target tree, thereby making it particularly useful in urban situations. The main factors limiting wider use of the traditional drilling methods are related to negative side effects of the holes that must be drilled around the trunk circumference in order to gain access to the xylem vessels beneath the bark.

The University of Padova (Italy) recently developed a manual, drill-free instrument with a small, perforated blade that enters the trunk by separating the woody fibers with minimal friction. Furthermore, the lenticular shaped blade reduces the vessels' cross section, increasing sap velocity and allowing the natural uptake of an external liquid up to the leaves, when transpiration rate is substantial. Ports partially close soon after the removal of the blade due to the natural elasticity and turgidity of the plant tissues, and the cambial activity completes the healing process in few weeks.


 BITE in action

Download Montecchio, L. A Venturi Effect Can Help Cure Our Trees. J. Vis. Exp. (80), e51199, doi:10.3791/51199 (2013)



“Trephor” tool is patented by the University of Padua (Italy) built by an handicraft factory with a long tradition and experience (“Costruzioni Meccaniche Carabin C.”, Valle di Cadore, Belluno, Italy), that markets it as well.

It is a tool specifically designed for extracting small cylindrical wood fragments (15 mm in length and 2 mm in diameter) from living trees.

The microcores contain the outmost stem tissues (bark, phloem, cambial zone) and the most recently formed tree rings. It can perform rapid and high-quality sampling with little damage to the stems.