Industry News: Bark and Trunk Concerns

Q: If a main trunk breaks, should the wound be dressed with anything?

Friday, April 15, 2016  

Q: I'm in the panhandle of Florida and have a pear tree that is 15 years old and has a great canopy. The tree has three main trunks/limbs, and one was blown down (broken) three days ago. Do I need to "dress" the broken part? It has about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch jagged edge to the break, which is horizontal with the broken edge facing up. I'm concerned that water will penetrate the broken part and rot or do other damage to the remaining 2/3 of the trunk. The broken edge is about 7 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep.

A: The Bradford pear is a tree that is prone to having multiple leaders that break during wind storms. If you want to save the tree, you can clean cut around the outside edge of the wound where the limb/leader broke off so the bark and cambium layer are smooth edged (not leaving tears or jagged edges). This will help allow better growth of wound wood or callous to close over the wound. No covering or painting of these wounds is recommended because they best close over without using wound paint or other products.

You should be concerned about the stability of the other leaders if they are growing from a point on the trunk near where this one broke off. Having the tree inspected by a Registered Consulting Arborist or a Certified Arborist is recommended.

Responder: John Harris, RCA #468, Hollywood, FL