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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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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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Tuesday - February 02, 2016

From: New Braunfels, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Repairing Damage to Oak Tree Bark
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I have destructive horses who have torn a lot of the bark off of my oak trees. I've moved the horses from that area, but is there something I can put on the places where the bark is missing so the trees do not die?

ANSWER:

Most trees will heal damage to their bark over time - particularly if the damage is less than 50% of the distance around the trunk. The recommendation by arborists is to not apply tree paint as this just causes a location for moisture and pests to congregate.

What is recommended is to "trace" the bark and cut away the damaged tree bark so that there is a nice smooth, oval edge to the bark that will heal fastest.You will need a sharp strong knife or a chisel and hammer for this task. Don't cut deeper than the bark layer. If the damage is more than 50% of the tree's diameter and the trees are valuable to your property, consult an arborist for advice.

Texas AgriLife Extension has a Tree Care Kit article online by Wayne Clatterbuck that has advice and a picture about Tree wounds.

Here's what he writes: Tree wounds often appear ragged where the bark is torn during the injury. This is common during branch breakage and when the trunk of the tree has been scraped. To repair this type of damage, cut off any ragged bark edges with a sharp knife. Take care not to remove any healthy bark and expose more live tissue than necessary. If possible, the wound should be shaped like an elongated oval, with the long axis running vertically along the trunk or limb. All bark around the wound should be tight.

 

 

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