I made the mistake of hiring someone to help out with mowing the lawn. I have yet to mulch for the spring so there are grasses growing all the way up to the trunk, but despite agreeing upon leaving the grasses alone around the base of the trees, it was not and I’m now left with a massive wound by the base of one of my cherry trees.
How would I go about to address this in the best possible way? It’s been 3 days (I did not see it until now) so I hope it’s not too late for whatever method. Sadly, this spot is facing west and gets plenty of sun, which now when I type it, reminds me that I should probably shield it with cardboard or something in the meantime.
I would remove the debris and cut it off cleanly so more live tissue isn’t accidentally ripped off.
The tree will try to close the area off by itself with live tissue that will grow inwards, but could take a lot of time since this looks like it is already a large caliper tree. If you want, You can try to bridge graft from top to bottom of the wound.
Good idea. I’ll cut it off cleanly to start with. This is a 4 year old tree with a trunk size of about 10 inches (just guessing as I’m not by the tree at the moment). But yes, it’s not a small tree per se.
Isn’t there anything I should put on the exposed wood so that it does not dry up and crack or invite pests and/or diseases? Or is any intervention an exercise in futility?
I was going to write he same thing, it is obviously (to anyone who looks at such things on almost a daily basis) an old would and probably the result of cambium freeze. I’ve seen plenty of weedwhacker damage, and even if the wound wasn’t already months old and had fresh green tissue the wound would look differently, although I suppose it’s possible that string barely hit it and knocked off a chunk of dead bark.
I will respectfully disagree, but I don’t blame you for disregarding my opinion at all. However, I know what fresh wounds look like and if that was knocked off by string or even hit by a lawnmower, it’s because the cambium was already dead an therefore weak. If you don’t believe me, scrape of some bark immediately above the wound. If it is green, take a photo and I will be humbled.
I’m just stating what I observed. I know it wasn’t there on Sunday during the walk through as it’s very easy to spot while out there in the front yard, and the wound appeared after they were done. The operator of the lawn mower even stated he did it with the mower when trying to get near the trunk, so I’m not sure what else to say. As in, this was not an existing visible wound before the mowing but it sure as heck was once he rammed into the tree.
Maybe the intensity of the sun has something to do with the looks of it? I suppose it’s possible it had been hit earlier without any visible tear and this incident simply revealed it, but this is the first time a lawnmower even got near the tree since August, and one would think you would be able to see some healing already occurring if that was the case. I better get some lotto tickets with those odds. Or are you saying that there is underlying issues with the tree?
In terms of freeze, it didn’t even get below 29 Fahrenheit this year at any point.
Regardless, the wound is now there and my original question was what to do now in order for best possible healing, as loosing the tree is not something I’m particularly interested in.
Totally possible, but can that happen to such an established tree with temperatures barely under freezing at any point throughout the year? And in the rare occasion when it does dip below 32, it’s just temporary for a few hours or so.
When a wound like that happens and tissue is still green and vital it can be tacked back in place, or tied, or taped. Once tissue is dead, generally all that’s done is to allow the tree to manage it. Wound dressings haven’t generally been found to be very beneficial and sometimes make it harder for wounds to heal by creating excessive wetness.
Lac Balsam is often considered the only useful wound dressing. I’m not sure about the current state of research on this. Been a while since I was a hort student so I’m only up to date on issues I regularly deal with.
Problem is that I did not notice it until 2 days later, so any living tissue would have most likely dried up already. The sun is really intense and the wound is facing the sun for majority of the day. We’ve already hit 90 degrees without any clouds during the day here in the California valley, so I’m not looking forward to the upcoming summer…
Here’s what I got from google AI on wound dressings.
I apologize for any confusion. You are correct that Dr. Alex Shigo, a renowned plant pathologist and arborist, conducted extensive research on tree wound dressings and concluded that they are generally unnecessary and may even hinder the natural healing process. His research, which spanned several decades, has greatly influenced the understanding and practices related to tree wound care.
Dr. Shigo’s findings suggest that trees have their own defense mechanisms and are capable of healing wounds without the aid of dressings. In fact, he proposed that applying wound dressings can potentially trap moisture, promote fungal growth, and impede the tree’s natural compartmentalization process.
While I don’t have direct access to Dr. Shigo’s specific research or unpublished works, his influential findings on wound dressings are widely acknowledged within the field of arboriculture. Many arborists and tree care professionals now follow his recommendations to avoid using wound dressings unless there are specific circumstances that warrant their use, such as for certain tree species in high-risk disease areas.
It’s important to note that the understanding of tree care practices evolves over time, and there may be ongoing research exploring different aspects of wound dressings. To stay up to date with the latest scientific consensus, I recommend consulting reputable arboriculture journals, publications, or contacting professional organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) or local arboricultural extension services for the most current information on tree wound care.