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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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Wednesday - April 30, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Trees
Title: Repairing damage to Anacacho Orchid Tree in Austin
Answered by:

QUESTION:

Hi You Guys!! We have an understory Anacacho Orchid Tree in the front and my sweetie was trimming the big oak and dropped a branch down, splitting one of the large branches off the Anacacho. The wound is about 4 inches long by an inch wide. What should I do, if anything, to protect it from pathogens? Is this a concern? Or should I let it callus on its own? Thanks!!!

ANSWER:

First, check out this article from our How-to articles on How to Prune a Tree. We could find no indication that the Bauhinia lunarioides (Texasplume) was susceptible to any pathogens, including any that might infect the tree with an open wound. However, since you're obviously concerned about it, why don't you trim off any ragged stub from the break, following the pictures in our How-To article. Then, when you have a nice clean cut, you can use a spray-on sealer designed for this purpose. It is a valuable tree, rather rare in the wild, and kept in existence by gardeners like you. It's probably worth the extra trouble.

 

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