Q: Should a large exposed cut limb be painted?
Monday, January 4, 2016
Q: Sadly, I had to cut a major limb from my old oak tree. The limb looked damaged, and I had to cut the limb to prevent it from falling on my house. Now, I have a big raw cut on my beautiful old tree. I don't want to leave it exposed, so what do I do? Should I paint the exposed area?
A: The current industry standard is to leave an exposed cut from pruning without any sealant or paint. It is best to allow the wood to dry and to allow the outer edge of the cambium under the bark to grow the callous wood and the wound wood to begin the process of growing new wood over the wound. With larger cut faces, it will take years for the new wood growth to cover the cut area, so you also may see decay of the exposed cut wood over time.
Ensure that the final cut was made either just outside of where a secondary limb is growing, or that it is cut just outside the branch collar at the trunk or parent limb, so that the tree has the best growing point for wound wood to be generated. Information on where to cut is available from many sources online if you need more information.
Responder: John Harris, RCA #468, Hollywood, FL