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old gash in tree trunk- how will it affect tree?

Posted by plantknitter 8 (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 28, 11 at 0:22

I'm considering buying a paperbark maple. Of the 3 in stock at the nursery, only one has a really good leader, and it is the tallest and healthiest looking tree overall except it has an old split near the base of the trunk. The trunk caliper is only about 1 inch.
There is really good healing surrounding the split, but there is still about a 3/8 inch gap with dry grey wood showing.
The callus is about 1/8 inch wide so far.
The split extends about 3 inches in vertical length.

One other tree has a perfect looking trunk with a nice flare starting at the base, similar caliper. But the top of the tree is branched into 2 branches with one small, maybe former leader, in the center.
This tree is shorter.
I do not not know the root system differences--hopefully both are good.

Which tree would you buy? both are the same price.

Will the current split area make any difference once the tree is grown?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: old gash in tree trunk- how will it affect tree?

Purchase it only if you want a lemon.


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RE: old gash in tree trunk- how will it affect tree?

  • Posted by botann z8 SEof Seattle (My Page) on
    Fri, Oct 28, 11 at 18:54

An eighth of an inch on a one inch tree?!!

I'd go for it. Negotiate a reduced price because of the flaw. The stock has been picked over all season. None left are top of the line. You can make a point in your favor.

It will heal over rather quickly and not be a problem in my opinion.
Mike......I like Paperbark Maples.


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RE: old gash in tree trunk- how will it affect tree?

Wound is described as "still about a 3/8 inch gap with dry grey wood showing." "1/8 inch" is the callus tissue.

I still suggest you ignore such a "bargain." That underlying gray wood is dead, dead, dead.


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RE: old gash in tree trunk- how will it affect tree?

I'd shy away from one with a split in the trunk like that. You might be better off with the split leaders, you can prune one out and train the replacement. Take a look at the roots if you can. In either case ask for a discount.

The split in the trunk is probably not restricting sap flow noticeably, if it's narrow and perfectly vertical, but it's already let in rot fungi.

Height is less important than overall health, and roots are critical.


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