Of all plant materials used to cover the roofs of traditional Japanese buildings, Japanese cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa) bark, hiwada, has the longest service life and has been used from ancient times. However, wood and bark properties after hiwada harvest have not been evaluated in detail. We studied whether decortication for hiwada production in winter affected xylem and phloem formation. Decorticated trees still preserved all inner bark and part of the outer bark, and both decorticated and control trees had similar annual ring structures at all stem heights in the xylem and phloem. In both xylem and inner bark, no significant difference in ring width at any stem height was found between annual rings before and after decortication. Thus, this study revealed that the decortication of bark for hiwada production does not affect the formation of xylem and the inner and outer bark if decortication is carried out by highly skilled workers in winter.
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