Shrub trunk split

Asked June 15, 2019, 12:20 PM EDT

I planted silktassel Garrya elliptica a year ago under an old cedar tree where it was hard to grow anything else. It came in a one gallon pot and was growing well over the past year. I noticed a few days ago that the main stem that has grown woody has split (why?). Can I save my plant. There are a few new shoots growing from the base.

Multnomah County Oregon trees and shrubs pruning

1 Response

The trunk of your shrub is formed in a way that puts pressure on the split. I’ll guess it will continue to open up, eventually failing completely. A strong scaffold shape is one where the trunk grows up, one branch goes out, then the trunk continues up with another branch growing higher and in a different direction. Corrective pruning early to ovoid the branching this plant has, where multiple branches go out from one point, is best. If you prune now below the split, the new suckers at the base will likely continue to grow. Watch how they branch and prune as needed.