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Bark Damage to Jap Red Maple

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Allens LawnCare, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. Allens LawnCare

    Allens LawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 926

    Guys I have someone working for me that made a little error in judgement. He hit the bark of a Jap Red maple tree while weed whacking at a cust home. The customer wants to know if there is a second skin for the bark to stop disease from affecting the life of the tree.
  2. jameson

    jameson LawnSite Fanatic
    from PNW
    Posts: 7,077

    Ask for a pruning seal/pruning sealer @ your local nursery or large box hardware store (Home Depot et al).
  3. Fvstringpicker

    Fvstringpicker LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,601

    I'd contact an arborist. Unless he took out a lot of bark, it should be ok. There is also various wraps (think bandage) to protect the wound until it heals over but often times the wrap actually fosters the pathogens.
  4. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    Do NOT use a pruning sealer! If it is not too bad and it shouldn't be if he just "hit" it as you siad with the trimmer line, it should be okay on it's own.
  5. jameson

    jameson LawnSite Fanatic
    from PNW
    Posts: 7,077

    Do calm yourself.

    If the wound is deep enough, or as I suspect has happened repeatedly, with the various and sundry fungal infections that can plague an acer palmatum (especially if it is a specimen tree/var.) a pruning sealer would be wise.

    If it is only a superficial wound and the tree is in good health, carry on as usual.
  6. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    I am always calm, young buck.

    AG Dept on Pruning Sealers>

    It does seem counter to common sense to leave a wound uncovered when we consider it from a human perspective. That is the way we tend to think about wounds, but remember a tree is not a human, or even an animal, and responds to things in a different manner. In the natural environment, branches break from trees in wind storms and must have a mechanism to defend themselves without a gardener going into the forest and applying wound sealer to every injury. Certainly, some of these cause problems for the tree, but in many cases the tree has the natural defense mechanisms to manage the problem.

    A tree doesn't ""heal." It only closes over the wound, enclosing the damage inside the tree. It has the ability to compartmentalize diseases and damage tissue sealing them from the healthy tissues in many instances. These damaged areas then remain in the tree and can be seen many years later if the tree is cut. It is possible to see scars (compartmentalized damage) caused by fires 50 and 100 years before the tree was finally cut. There are instances when the damage to a tree is too severe and the tree rots internally, but such damage cannot be stopped by a pruning sealer.

    Some people think that pruning sealer will help prevent the tree from "bleeding to death." Trees don't bleed—they don't have blood. The blood in an animal is critical because it carries oxygen to all the cells within the body. Plant sap carries water, minerals and sugars, but does not carry oxygen. Loss of blood in an animal will cause cell death for lack of oxygen. Plants don't have this problem. They can lose a lot of sap without major injury. The dripping sap just irrigates the tree. Pruning sealers will have little effect in reducing the dripping of sap. It just stops naturally as the tree compartmentalizes the wound.

    Many pruning sealer compounds are black and contain asphalt. This black material absorbs sunlight and becomes quite hot. The heat can kill the tender cells that the tree produces to close the pruning wound and in that manner delays wound closure and compartmentalization. Lighter-colored materials do less damage, but any containing a petroleum-based solvent can damage newly developing wound closure cells.

    Scientific research has shown that the pruning sealer is not necessary. Much more important is proper pruning technique. Knowledge of tree anatomy and physiology allows us to prune a tree and allow the tree to use its protective mechanisms to protect itself. It is also wise to minimize pruning in landscape trees by training a tree when it is young. Cutting small branches when the tree is young precludes the necessity to cut larger branches later. The large wounds produced by removing large branches create greater difficulties for the tree.
  7. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,378

    I didn't know anyone still used pruning sealer.:dizzy:

    The article that MMlawn posted says it all best. Tree should be fine just be careful in the future.
  8. mjohnson1

    mjohnson1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 76

    oh come on now just spray some brown rust oleum on there and act like nothing happened. "i don't know sir i don't see any damage on there at all." etc. works every time
  9. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    Speaking of Jap Red Maples, we had a client on an install that wanted a rather good size one included and our cost on it was $800......even though my wife insisted we have one, I just don't see it personally, nice tree but shoot......
  10. Grassmechanic

    Grassmechanic LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,697

    Those look like the words of Dr. Alex Shigo. And yes, pruning sealers went the way of the dodo, unless you're a Jerry Baker wannabe.

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