bad pruning job

Asked June 23, 2015, 3:58 PM EDT

My husband pruned our dogwood tree. It looks nice now but the cuts he made can lead to tree damage. He made flush cuts instead of collar cuts. What can we do to help this tree heal and avoid pest problems now? ~ Thanks!

Benton County Oregon

1 Response

Hi there and thank you for using our website. You did not mention the age of the tree, what kind of dogwood, or when the pruning was done.

Pruning should never remove more than 1/3 of the canopy so hopefully the amount of canopy removed is less than that and the remaining leaves can produce enough energy to sustain the tree and help it heal. You did say that the tree looked good that is a good sign.

What is done is done. Now the job is to keep the tree as happy as possible while it heals itself. What you do not want to do is paint the over the wounds as this will seal in moisture and create an environment for rot to develop on the tree. The cut areas need to dry. Bark grows surprisingly fast on healthy trees and the wounds may be covered over time.

We are experiencing a dry and warmer than normal year. Be sure to keep the tree hydrated. Watch for wilting or droopy leaves and give your tree a good long drink if this occurs. Monitor the remaining canopy of the tree for pests as you want to maintain as much leaf surface as possible in order to provide that energy to the tree for healing and growing. If you have an insect causing significant damage to the leaves bring in a sample to the Benton County MG desk for identification and to learn how to deal with the infestation. Watch for signs of boring insects, such as small holes in the bark. Be sure no further damage occurs to the tree, be careful with string trimmers and mowers. Don’t do anything to damage or compress the root zone under the drip line of the canopy. Now comes the hardest part. You must wait and watch and hope for the best.