wind damaged tree repair

PaulJ1xMarch 4, 2013

We have a 20' deciduous tree which was damaged by the wind. There are 5 trunks, one of the trunks goes up about 4', then splits into two large branches which are about 15' tall. The wind split the trunk of these two branches. Where the two branches meet there is now a split about an inch wide and 15" long. It's as if Godzilla walked up to the tree, took a branch in each hand and forced the two branches apart causing a split an inch wide where the two branches used to meet and 15 inches long right down the center of the trunk. A picture would probably help. My choices would appear to be:
1) Leave it alone;
2) Somehow try to force the two branches back together and wrap something around them keeping them together;
3) Cut the trunk off just below the split; or
4) Cut the trunk at the base.
I really hate 3) and 4) because it's a huge tree and this would cut off 20% of it. This trunk is maybe 4" diameter below the split and 6" diameter at the bottom. If I do need to cut it can I use a chainsaw or should I use a handsaw for a cleaner cut?
Sorry if this is the wrong forum, I didn't see a more appropriate forum. Any help is appreciated!!

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Hi Paul,

Years ago we had a tree that the wind split something like that. With a long bit, I drilled a hole all the way through both branches (at the split). I then inserted a long steel threaded rod through the hole (the rod went through both branches). Next, I put two large washers and nuts on each end of the rob and tightened them to pull the branches back together. Over the years, the branches grew over the exposed washers and nuts to the point where they were barely visible.

I did that repair the day after the tree was spite. If it's been awhile since your tree got split and the branches have dried out, I don't know how effective that kind of repair would be. It might be worth a try in any case.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 1:49AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

option 4 ...

it will recover nicely .. in tree time ...

interior wood is dead.. it will never heal inside.. even if you can get the 'skin' to heal ...

i do not favor injecting power tools and hardware inside trees ... [power tools are not bad for pruning] ...

trees/shrubs.. are not static.. time changes everything.. and your only real problem.. is you expecting it to always be the same..

there is no reason.. properly pruned out.. that this tree will not recover completely.. and assume a new shape ... and with a little judicious pruning.. you can avoid the situation again ...

now that i think about it.. what tree is 20 feet.. an ID could be had with a pic.. and we could really focus in on precise suggestions ...

if, in fact.. this is an old shrub that looks like a tree .. it is extremely large.. and probably in need of some rejuvenation pruning.. this is what happens when your shrub turns into grandpa ... though unlike grandpa.. we could rejuvenate it into a younger.. more vigorous plant..

lets get that pic.. and get an ID ... and go from there ...


ps: what he said is an option.. i simply dont believe in it ...

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 8:14AM
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This split was the result of competing leaders being allowed to grow when the tree was started. If you want to save the whole tree do as Art has suggested and cable the two together. Lots of information is available on how to do it Or you could call an ISA certified arborist and let him do it. Al

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 9:27AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

btw.. this has nothing to do with propagation..

perhaps you ought to try the same post in the tree forum.. where a bunch of arborists are prone to hang out.. who i have never seen in this forum


    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 11:00AM
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I looked for a tree forum, where is it? URL?

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 11:11AM
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Ken's probably right. A list of all forums can be found at the link below.


Here is a link that might be useful: Forums

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 12:17PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

there is a GW search box upper right ...

when i am looking for a forum.. i just type in the plant name.. hit enter.. and hit the first related post.. and at that post.. hit RETURN TO FORUM ...

and dont get me wrong.. i do NOT care where you post.. i am just trying to get you other opinions ... and pic would really help ...

the problem with using hardware.. and then letting it grow over.. is the guy who comes along in a few decades.. and kills himself when the chainsaw or grinder hits hidden metal objects ...

so if you go that route.. and ever plan on leaving the house .. do cut out and remove the hidden dangers you installed ...

and that is why i would prefer proper pruning .. so i wont forget ....


    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 12:35PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Ken is exactly correct, a split like this will never heal inside even if you are able to get the bark to grow back together. The chances of rot occurring in a situation like this is very high. You may be able to get a few extra years out of the limb by bolting it together, but chances of eventual failure are very high. AND, as the tree grows, failure of this area may represent a larger and larger problem and will become more and more likely.

I see that an ISA-certified arborist was recommended to do the "repair". It is unlikely that ANY ISA-certified arborist is going to want to perform this work without telling you first that it is not what they recommend and is not a permanent solution (unless the situation is very different than I am imagining).

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 7:39PM
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I would like to really thank everybody for their ideas. The threaded rod may or may not work, but it's easy to try. I'll try this and if the limb looks like it's dying I'll bring in an ISA certified arborist to trim it. I'm going to go ahead and post this in the trees forum as well, thanks for the help finding that. So much great advice in less than 24 hours, what impressive forums!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 10:21PM
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Here in northern California we have thousands or heritage oaks that have multiple cables per tree. Anyone able to climb a tree with a chainsaw should be able to see a cable extending between limbs. Here I have apple trees my dad cabled over 30 years ago still bearing good fruit Al

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 9:47AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

we need a full ID.. and a pic.. to really give you an answer ..


    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 1:33PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Cabling (and rodding, which is basically what was being considered here) is used to PREVENT damage and is usually performed on healthy limbs/trunks BEFORE they split or break.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 6:58PM
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