Can trees repair themselves?
Trees are incredible survivors amidst pests of all kinds, including us! Since most wounds are caused by humans while performing tree trimming in Sacramento, urban and suburban trees are more likely to sustain injuries and decay than trees in native stands. However, these wounds are typically unintentional, such as when vehicles, construction equipment, or lawnmowers hit the tree trunk or surface roots or due to improper pruning. Natural occurrences like storms, fires, or bird or animal damage can also result in wounds.

Wounds usually fracture the bark and damage the food and water-transmitting tissues. Injuries may also expose the tree’s inside to organisms, typically bacteria and fungus, which can infect the wood, causing discoloration and disintegration. Decay can cause structurally weaker tree stems and shorten a tree’s life. While decaying cannot be cured, proper tree maintenance can slow the progression of deterioration in an injured tree.

This comprehensive guide outlines tree reactions to injury and what you may do to maintain tree health post-wounding.

How Does a Tree Respond to Wounding?

Trees naturally strive to heal wounds by sealing or compartmentalizing the afflicted area.

• Compartmentalization:

An injured tissue of wounded trees is not repaired and doesn’t heal. Since trees do not heal, they seal. If you examine an old wound, you will observe that it does not heal from the inside out. Instead, the tree gradually plugs the entrance by creating specialized callus tissue around the wound’s margins.

After the injury, new wood grows around the wound, forming a protective barrier preventing the spread of infection or rot into the new tissue. Therefore, in response to the injury, the tree “compartmentalizes” or isolates the older, wounded tissue while gradually growing new, healthier tissue. When it comes to tree removal in Sacramento, contact an experienced arborist to examine the tree if you detect fragile tree branches, insect infestation, or decay while evaluating it.

Caring Tips for Tree Wounds

Proper tree wound care promotes callus development and wound healing.

• Physical Repair:

Tree wounds often seem ragged on the torn bark during the damage, which is usually prevalent when a branch breaks or the trunk of a tree is scratched. To repair this damage, use a sharp knife to trim off any ragged bark edges. Take care not to remove any healthy bark or expose any more living tissue than is essential.

• Wound Dressings:

According to studies, wound dressings like tar or paint may not prevent deterioration and potentially interfere with wound closure. Moreover, they foster the following negative consequences:

• Avoid drying and promote fungal development
• Disrupt the wound wood and callus tissue development
• Prevent compartmentalization
• Pathogens may use it as a food supply

Hence, considering the above-cited issues, you should avoid wound dressings since trees have their natural defense systems to keep decay organisms, insects, and illness at bay. You may seek professional tree services in Sacramento to prolong your tree’s longevity while keeping them healthy.

• Pruning Wounds:

You should perform proper pruning to remove dead, dying, broken, low, crossing, or dangerous branches and to manage the tree’s size. Generally, pruning stresses the tree by eliminating food-producing leaves, generating wounds that take energy to seal, and offering potential entrance sites for disease. Hence, the prime objective of the pruning cuts should be to improve the tree’s ability to heal wounds and fight against infection. Perform clean, smooth cuts while pruning and leave no branch stubs. Winter (dormant season) is the best time to prune since temperatures and infection rates are lower and trees are not actively developing.

Wrapping it up!

Healthy trees generally heal fast from wounds. Hydrating the trees during draughts and correctly fertilizing them may help keep the injured trees blooming healthily, hasten wound closure, promote callus formation, and improve resistance to degradation processes.