How to Heal Tree Wounds

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Decay can result from untreated tree wounds.
Decay can result from untreated tree wounds. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Saw
  • Mulch
  • Fertilizer
  • Garden hose

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.

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.

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.

Tips & Warnings

  • 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.

References

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