car hit my tree

Asked October 7, 2016, 5:07 PM EDT

A car hit my 15 year old pin oak tree that is about 18 inches around. all it did was take a chunk off the bark 12x6 inches and does look to have done much else. I have attached some photos and would like to know what I should do next, some are saying cut it down and start over Bachman's said let it heal normally and keep an eye on it, what do you think. Gary 612 619 7577

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. That is a large chunk of missing bark but it appears to be less than 50% of the total bark around the circumference of the tree so it might be OK. According to our publication on protecting trees from construction damage
  • The treatment of trunk wounds depends on the extent of damage. If 50 percent or more of the bark has been removed around the entire trunk, the tree will not likely survive and should be removed. If only a patch of bark has been removed leaving a few splinters, use a sharp knife to cleanly cut off the loose bark to a place on the stem where it is firmly attached. DO NOT make the wound any larger than necessary.
There is no need to paint the bark with anything at this time of year. Oaks are susceptible to oak wilt and should have wounds painted when pruned or injured in spring or early summer but that isn't a concern this late in the year.
We do suggest you have a certified arborist come evaluate your tree. In the third photo, the branches look like they might be bare and could be of concern but it's hard to tell from photos. Certified arborists are
individuals who are trained in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining individual trees. Here's how to hire one: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/how-to-hire-a-professional-arborist/

Thank you for contacting Extension.