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Many tree branches broke off during the big storm and my father told me to get tree wound paint and put it on the wounds. Is that good advice?

Answer

Many tree branches broke off during the big storm and my father told me to get tree wound paint and put it on the wounds. Is that good advice? No, it's not good advice. Back in your father's day, it was common to paint tree wounds, but more recent research has shown that tree wound paint actually hurts a tree. Paint cuts off the oxygen supply to the damaged area and creates a perfect environment for disease micro-organisms. When damage occurs, tree branch damage and wounds need to be properly pruned and trimmed to allow the tree the best chance to repair itself. Many people mistakenly cut a damaged branch back flush with the main stem, this in turn creates a larger area for decay. Leave the collar of wood that exists at the base of the branch and make a clean, smooth cut. Also, larger tree wounds often have ragged pieces of torn bark showing. You should take a sharp knife and cut the bark back to where it's solidly attached and create an oval shape (see picture). Trees do not "heal", but rather they "seal" themselves by a process called "compartmentalization" where new wood gradually grows around the damaged wood (see picture). Eventually this callus tissue will completely cover the damage. Not only do trees protect themselves from the outside, there is a process inside in the tree that sets up chemical boundaries to protect the tree from decay organisms.

Sprigs & Twigs, Inc has a licensed arborist and offers a complete range of Tree Care Services: storm damage recovery, tree pruning, tree fertilization, tree removal, cabling and stump grinding. Feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.

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