If you have a few trees on your property, then you have probably been advised by a well-meaning friend or neighbor to paint their wounds after trimming or pruning them. Unfortunately, not all well-meaning advice is useful; in fact, tree wound painting may even be dangerous for your trees.

The Background

When you cut a tree branch, you expose the inner tissues of the tree to the outside environment. This can lead to various health issues for the tree; for example, the tissue exposure increases the risk of attack by microorganisms as well as the risk of weather-related damage. This is why tree owners are always on the lookout for measures to mitigate the damage, and some people think wound painting should be one of these measures.

What It Is

Wound painting is a practice in which one applies tree wound dressing to a freshly cut or damaged surface of a living tree. Most of the dressings are manufactured from petroleum-based products that are meant to protect the tree from insect attack, germ attack, and accelerated decay. Proponents of tree wound dressing claim the treatments help trees, just like people can benefit from antiseptic treatments of fresh wounds.

The Reality

On the surface, tree wound dressing seems like a novel way of taking loving care of your injured trees. The reality, however, is that applying such dressings on your trees' wounds actually does more harm than good. Here are some of the specific disadvantages of dressing tree wounds with petroleum-based products:

  • The dressing seals in the moisture at the affected site, limiting transpiration and encouraging death and decay of the affected limb
  • The dressing prevents the growth of new tree tissues, which means the wound won't heal as fast as it should
  • The dressing seals in dangerous things such as fungi and bacteria

The Alternative

Now that you have established that tree wound dressing is a hoax at best or a danger to trees at worst, you need to know that alternative measures exist to help trees recover from wound damage. Here are some ways to minimize damage to your tree:

  • Know how to make clean cuts when pruning trees to minimize damage
  • Prune trees in the winter when they are dormant
  • Use fungicides or insecticides if fungi or insect attack are your major fears
  • Ensure the tree has adequate water and nutrients to help it heal fast

You don't have to struggle with your tree care alone; why not give a tree company, like Tielis Tree Service, a call the next time you want to trim your trees to ensure it is professionally executed?