How to Heal a Scar on a Tree

Written by james mcelroy
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How to Heal a Scar on a Tree
Trim branches flush with the node to promote healing. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

When a tree gets scarred, it naturally produces a new growth of bark over the wound. This callous or healing, protects the wound and isolates the cut area from the rest of the tree, to prevent wood decay. Prune your tree properly and cut back dying or damaged branches to help your tree heal fast and grow a callus. Though experts disagree about its efficacy, you can also apply a dressing to wounds to keep insects and fungus out of fresh cuts in trees.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Saw or pruning shears
  • Tree pruning paint

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  1. 1

    Trim trees in the spring, after buds have begun to form; but before the leaves have grown to full size. Spring is when the tree grows most rapidly, and the wound will heal quickest in the spring.

  2. 2

    Cut tree branches flush to the trunk or branch that they grow from, unless there is a bulge where they connect. Where there is a bulge or collar at the base of the branch, leave the bulge and cut the branch just above it. This helps the tree heal itself.

  3. 3

    Trim broken, damaged or diseased branches back to the next healthy limb or the trunk. Ragged or uneven breaks sap more energy from the tree when it tries to heal them, and make the tree more susceptible to disease.

  4. 4

    Paint the exposed wood with pruning paint or wound dressing, which is available at gardening centres. Experts disagree about the paint's usefulness, but in specific instances -- such as oak trees in Texas where it helps prevent oak wilt disease -- it is advisable. Other people find the paint aesthetically pleasing because it helps the wound blend in better with the rest of the tree.

Tips and warnings

  • Cut through the bark all the way around the branch, before you use a saw to trim a tree. This prevents the bark from stripping.

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