Saving a River Willow Tree

Asked June 23, 2014, 3:17 PM EDT

How should you seal an open wound on a tree from removing a large branch? I have a 6 x 12 inch wound on a river willow that has been cleaned as smooth as possible. (Cut today -- from Friday's storms). Do different types of trees require different solutions to this storm damage problem?

Thanks

Douglas County Nebraska sustainable gardening and landscaping pruning

1 Response

Small or large wounds on trees should not be treated with anything, i.e. no pruning paints, no wound dressings, etc. and nor should they be covered with anything. A healthy tree will send "chemicals" in sap to the wound to "close it off". It will then begin to grow "callus" growth to slowly close the wound. Research has proven that covering or treating the wound only increases the risk of decay. While splintered wood is best cleaned up, the wound should not be made larger; no branch stub should be left but the branch should also not be removed flush with the trunk. The trunk collar should remain. See # 3 in this Nebraska Forest Service Storm Damage Series for information on pruning storm damaged trees:
http://nfs.unl.edu/documents/communityforestry/Storm%20Damage%20series%20entire.pdf