Damaged bark on 4 year old maple.

Asked February 25, 2017, 4:35 PM EST

We inadvertently damaged the bark on a sugar maple during transplant. I've gotten different responses...some say to let the tree heal by itself...others give products, some quite pricey to use. What's the best avenue??

Garrett County Maryland

1 Response

Treating bark injuries or pruning cuts with any kind of sealant is no longer recommended. Trees do a remarkable job of healing over many injuries by slowly producing callous tissue from the outside edges that eventually grows to meet and compartmentalize the wound.
Hopefully it is not a large injury that goes most of the way around the trunk. All trunk injuries affect the ability of the tree to uptake water and nutrients. If a tree is girded completely around, it is likely to die for that reason.
Here is a page that discusses mechanical injury: http://www.extension.umd.edu/hgic/mechanical-injury-trees-and-shrubs

Be sure to keep the tree free from stress and further injury as much as possible. Keep it well watered and a 2-3 inch layer of mulch can help keep down weeds, hold moisture and make further injury less likely. Don't use too much mulch and keep it away from direct contact with the trunk.