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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Wednesday - June 05, 2013

From: Lampasas, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Treating scarred Gum Bumelia from Lampasas TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a very old Gum Bumelia with a scarred open tree trunk. In the past concrete was used to fill the scarred trunk. What is the acceptable method of helping the tree. More concrete or using black pruning sealant???

ANSWER:

 Sideroxylon lanuginosum (Gum bumelia) is not a very big tree ordinarily and is considered a "pest tree" in some localities. However, we respect the fact that you would like to preserve your old tree if you can. This member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team grew up in West Texas, where there were few trees, with or without holes, so we have no personal experience in the matter.

We have to be honest, our first reaction to this question was "You're kidding, right?" But we did some research and discovered that this was once a common practice. Read this paper on Tree Surgery and the Concrete Cure. However, it was published by Concrete International, so it might not be totally impartial.

Moving on, we found some more articles that addressed the subject:

Previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer  on filling hole in tree with concrete.

From Gardening Know How Filling Holes in Tree Trunks

Califonia Garden Clubs, Inc. Do Not Fill Tree Cavities with Concrete

and, finally, the one we think makes the most sense -

Texas !&M AgriLIFE Extension Tree Care Kit

Whether  you want to do this yourself or engage a licensed arborist to make repairs or recommendations, you are the one that will have to make the decision. It will be necessary to weigh the costs and difficulties of treating the hole against the possibility that the tree will not survive much longer, no matter what you do.

 

From the Image Gallery


Gum bumelia
Sideroxylon lanuginosum

Gum bumelia
Sideroxylon lanuginosum

Gum bumelia
Sideroxylon lanuginosum

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