Japan Culture Guide
Belly band for trees?
Yesterday I went to Koishikawa-korakuen, a reputable Japanese garden near my home, and found as if all trees wear belly bands as seen in this picture. Why do all trees wear such a shabby straw mat? Perhaps Japanese are kind enough to have trees wear the belly band and fight against cold wind in winter? It's nonsense, then what is it for actually?
This is called Komomaki, "komo" means straw matting and "maki" means to roll, so it means winding straw matting on the trunk of a tree. In winter, harmful insects for pine trees get down to the ground from twigs and branches, so komomaki is a wise method to capture these harmful insects. Because the lower part of komo is tied so strongly that the insects cannot go through it, also because inside komo is warmer and comfortable, insects do not go down to the ground but stay in the komo for winter. Before spring they remove the komo, where harmful insects still stay calm inside, and dispose(burn) it to get rid of them.