Bark Damaged Tree

Old 04-23-03, 07:33 PM
rogerh's Avatar
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Bark Damaged Tree

I have a young tree that has a area where there is no bark. You can see a 4" by 18" area of wood on the tree. This tree is still alive and I was wondering if there is anything I can put on it to save it.
Old 04-24-03, 01:13 AM
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Hello rogerh

How big is the tree (what is the diameter 18" above the ground)? ... and d o you know what kind of tree it is?

The layer just under the bark, the cambium layer, is where sap, nutrients, etc are carried between the roots and the rest of the tree. Depending on the severity of the wound, you might consider trying to patch the gap. If the damage is less than (approx) 30% of the tree's girth, it may not be as critical to attempt a repair - the wound should heal over with time, although nutrient flow will never be as good as with an undamaged tree. As long as there is still some cambium for these 'juices' to flow, your tree stands a chance of surviving, although possibly stunted or set back until the area self repairs.

If the bark and cambium damage occurred very recently, you sometimes can graft strips of bark and cambium from other areas of the same tree over the wound - the key is to have live contact of cambium at both ends of the wound and the graft and to keep the contact active (much like a skin graft with us) until the plant accepts the patch.

If you are asking about painting the wound, jury is still out on whether to dress wounds and fresh cuts or not. Some maintain that painting a fresh wound will protect the tree from invasion by organisms and further damage while others allow the fresh wound to heal over without dressing (except for cleaning up any jagged tears in the bark and cambium) - the theory being that applying dressing over a wound will trap moisture and promote decay under the dressing - guess it's up to you to decide which school you want to subscribe to...

I'm going to move this post over to the Gardening forum - hopefully there are some real tree experts over there who can give you a better idea about the proper techniques for grafting and tree repair.


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