How to Heal Tree Wounds

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Things You'll Need

  • Knife

  • Saw

  • Mulch

  • Fertilizer

  • Garden hose

Decay can result from untreated tree wounds.

Trees that have suffered from broken limbs and bark tears are considered wounded, just like people suffer from cuts and broken bones. Decay and disease can affect a wounded tree much more easily when torn bark exposes live tissues; however, a wounded tree is far from dead in most cases. Tree wounds do require a bit of human help to speed the healing process.


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Step 1

Cut off loose, ragged pieces of bark that surround a tree wound such as a broken branch. Whittle away the injured bark, taking care to avoid stripping away healthy, living bark. If the tree wound appears in the early spring during a period of new growth, leave the bark as is to reduce interference with the tree's own healing system.

Step 2

Remove dead and broken branches to heal tree wounds. Use a saw to make a clean cut in the wood. Branches that grow flush against the trunk can be cut with the exposed end flush, without leaving a stump. Branches that contain a collar, or area of swelling near the trunk, should be left with a small existing stub.


Step 3

Water, mulch and fertilize a wounded tree just as you would a healthy tree. Specifics in fertilizing vary depending on the type of tree. Watering is only necessary during a period of drought. Keep the injured tree as healthy as possible to deliver essential nutrients to the root system as it heals.


According to Texas A&M and Ohio State University agriculture experts, wound dressings are not required to help a tree wound heal. The dressing material may actually interfere with the tree's system of defense, and can impede healing in some cases.