Harvesting cork is a very interesting process. Although it may seem simple it requires its own unique skills and knacks of removing it.
Cork harvest can be classified in six steps:
A vertical cut is made in the cork, choosing the deepest crack in the bark. At the same time, the edge of the axe is twisted so as to separate the outer from the inner bark.
The plank is then separated from the tree by inserting the edge of the axe between the strip and the inner bark.
A horizontal cut defines the size of the plank to be removed. During dividing, the inner bark is frequently marked.
The plank is removed from the tree with care. The larger planks are extracted for production. The removal of entire plank depends on the skill of the worker.
After the stripping of the planks, some fragments of the cork remain attached at the base of the trunk. Any noticeable parasites are also removed and the tree is left clean and healthy for further growth.
These cork trunks are then marked with the year of harvest. These marked trees are left undisturbed for the next 9-11 years.
This ancient process of harvesting the cork oak yields the best results without damaging the tree.