Sealant when pruning trees? Or not?

NilaJones(7b)March 9, 2013

Hello everyone :).

I'm catching up on pruning, after missing a few years due to illness, which means I'm pruning a bit more heavily than usual. I don't normally use sealant on cuts, but I have some, and am wondering if I should. Maybe on the larger cuts or on particular species?

I'm particularly wondering about my new peach tree. I saw online how the custom these days (unlike when I was a kid) seems to be to top the young tree, leaving just 3 or 4 main branches low down. I think this shape would be great in the location. I'm working up my nerve and could use any advice -- not just limited to 'should I put sealant on the cut?' :)

I've taken some 2-3" branches off a goumi, and 1" ones off a fig and a Hosui pear. Plus, of course, the usual smaller stuff. Sealant? No?

Thanks a bunch!

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alan haigh

Sealant is generally considered useless although there may be some special situations where added ingredients may make a balm helpful. Woodies heal by making a wall between infections not by irradicating the invasive pathogen. A sealant only encourages fungus by increasing moisture at wound site. This was all determined by research done decades ago but was a bit slow reaching the public. Commercial fruit growers never used sealants.

Only one year peaches straight form the nursery are cut low to make low branches. They don't reliably produce branches from old wood from stub cuts.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 6:31AM
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fireduck(10a)

I agree with H....to a certain extent. Very seldom do I seal. I have always wondered if it is just as good (or better) to seal with latex white paint. I suspect sealing would discourage insects/pests. Can you top the peach above any leaf buds? That might be best. Get it done soon...it is warming up.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 10:01AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I've never used it and i've pruned trees now for 6 years... never noticed any ill effects from not using...

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 11:23AM
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NilaJones(7b)

Thanks folks! Ok, no sealant.

The peach is new from the nursery, but has not had all its side branches cut off prior to sale (like some nurseries do).

It's about 5 feet tall. I would cut it to leave the lowest four current branches, because they are at the height I want. Is this ok?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 1:25PM
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fireweed22

You will hear a lot of people claim paint is required but it truly is OLD info that has been debunked. It keeps the wound moist and susceptible to more infection than one allowed to heal naturally. It's all about making correct pruning cuts in the right season for your location.

It would help if stores quit selling it.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 12:48PM
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MrClint

I'm not looking to argue or talk anyone into using tree seal if they are dead set against it. I use it on major cuts that require a saw, including but not limited to topworking cuts for grafting. I wouldn't use it on 1" branches that I use loppers on.

If you go to How To Graft A Fruit Tree, an instructional video from DWN, at 4:07 you'll see Tom Spellman using a tar based tree sealer on the cuts. He explains the where for and the why on its usage.

I use Morrison's Tree Seal with the applicator brush built into the lid, and can recommend it as it has worked well for me. Morrison's has been around since 1925. It's fairly cheap and should last a long time. Hope that helps!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 4:30PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

The problem on this bark graft is that the scion has no side cut,
the bark on the root stock lay's on top of the scion bark.

As a sealant, see in this link..

Here is a link that might be useful: Konrad's modified bark grafting

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 4:52PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Better to graft on water sprouts...cut off about 2/3 in spring, graft the following year onto "NEW" vigorous stems, much better results and graft can heal good in one season, ...won't break and looks good.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 4:57PM
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MrClint

I'm also not looking to argue or talk anyone into using a particular grafting method or tree seal brand/type if they are dead set against something in the DWN video. :)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 5:36PM
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alan haigh

Mr. Clint, sealing grafts is not related to sealing pruning wounds. That is about preventing dessication of the scion not about helping wounds to heal. If you are actually interested in the science that is involved in the reason sealants are no longer recommended I suggest you research Alex Shigo- he spent a good deal of his life researching the subject- searching for any material that would help wounds heal- including asphalt based products. Nothing he tried worked but in the process he learned why the effort is misguided form the get-go.

There are certain situations where sealants are still recommended, but not to help trees close wounds.

There is also one compound, Lac Balsam, that may have some usefulness, according to some studies but you are not helping your wounds by covering them up with something that helps hold excess moisture close to the injury. Trees block infection, they do not actually create antibodies to destroy them.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 6:28PM
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MrClint

"If you are actually interested in the science..."

I will respectfully bow to you and Alex Shigo (who spent a good deal of his life researching the subject). :)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 8:59PM
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