Tree wounds revisited

hortster(6a, southcentral KS)December 22, 2008

Dr. Alex Shigo thoroughly researched tree wounds and "compartmentalization" as a tree's defense against infections. He adamantly stated that no surface treatment should be given to tree wounds, and that proper pruning cuts and implement sterilization were the best we could do when pruning is necessary. The main problem with paints and tars is that they prevent water and oxygen flow in and out of the exposed inner wood, trapping moisture and promoting infection. These products could also retard re-growth of new wood.

Envision a branch wound that has taken years attempting to seal itself. Now there is a large bulge of re-growth tissue with a hole in the middle where fungal rot is causing deepening decay. This slowly closing hole continues to allow moisture to enter and stay within the compartmentalized area, likely promoting more decay.

Has anyone out there done research on a biodegradable, organic, non-growth retarding tree wound treatment that could perhaps offer enough temporary protection to allow the wound to get a good start to recovery? Something that would shed some of the outside moisture but would at the same time allow some oxygen and moisture exchange to the wound? Something like a light coat of pure linseed oil?

It seems to me that this idea could at least be effective on smaller wounds that normally would take 3-5 years to seal or wounds to softer wooded species. If the linseed oil offered a season or two of declining protection the new growth would have a better surface on which to re-grow. Would this growth not cover a more solid surface sooner and more healthily than over a rotting, cracking and collapsing one?

I would love to hear thoughts, pro or con about this query. And yes, I do admire ShigoÂs intense works.

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nwnatural(zone 8 PNW)

Trees are pretty resilient! They've been growing, surviving damage, and healing themselves for a long time before we ever entered the equation.

One thing that we can learn from Mother Nature is that she doesn't pamper or nurture natureÂs boo-boos. Make the healthiest cut and let the tree heal on its own seems to be the best cure.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2008 at 8:59PM
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tmore(5)

More than 80% of stress on trees a caused by man by way of over watering, under watering, improper pruning and so on. If pruning is done right they don't our help to heal

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 12:58AM
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petzold6596(8b southern NM)

Never prune a branch flush with the 'mother' stem. The healing process begins at the knuckle of the pruned stem. The knuckle is the swollen portion of the stem where one stem attaches to the 'mother' stem.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 3:25PM
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Zephyrhills(9)

I was searching on the internet for what to do about a new willow tree we just purchased that sustained scraping wounds during its transport. I found this thread on wound dressing, and it doesn't quite address a bad scrape. I know what to do as far as prevention, but what if you've got an accidental wound on the trunk?

One wound is quite deep and about 3" long, and goes to the inner wood but not inside the inner wood. The other scraped off the outer part of the bark, but not into the interior. Should I just carefully cut around the scunned up part and remove it?

In my research, I have read that "wound" treatments are not good for trees - but we are in Florida, it is high-humidity season and I am terrified my new tree is going to get a rot, infested by wound-loving beetles, or something.

I know I'm not supposed to wrap it, but I want to put medicine on it and put a bandaid on its owie :-( I am so upset! I can post images if that would help.

Please send some advice, and thank you.

Soggy-Bottom Baby

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 2:35PM
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gardengal48

Trees are not little kids :-)) They do not need you to dress their wounds - they are very capable of doing that themselves and much better than you could.

Unless the bark damage goes around the circumference of the tree, there is nothing to worry about. And even less so with most willows as they are able to be cut back to a stump and still regenerate without issue.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 4:02PM
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tmore(5)

still you do not want to put anything on the tree

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 12:46AM
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