The pruning sealer is not required, according to the findings of recent scientific research. It is also smart to do as little tree pruning as possible in landscape trees by beginning the training process when the tree is still young. If you prune off the tree's young, smaller branches when it's still young, you won't have to prune off its older, larger branches later.
Home gardeners have made widespread use of pruning sealers, which consist of a putty-like or paint-like substance and are designed to cover and protect cuttings made in the course of pruning. These are often made of petroleum, and they are placed to the cuts in order to reduce the amount of sap that is lost surrounding them and to speed up the healing process. The most recent research suggests, however, that sealants may really cause more harm than good.
They impede the natural process of healing that your trees go through. Even though you are, in all intents and purposes, instantaneously closing the wound with the sealer, the intention is that the tree will grow over it. However, in the long run, it causes the tree to heal more slowly and increases the likelihood that pests and disease will take hold.
They can cause damage to your tree because they prevent moisture from escaping around the cut. This can result in the formation of fungi, which, over time, can contribute to the destruction of the wood.
A tree pruning sealer is a water-resistant compound that is "painted" onto the exposed cut left on a limb or branch after it has been pruned. This protects the cut from further decay. People have been told by arborists for a very long time, and in some cases this practise continues to this day, that tree wounds need to be sealed with a sealant in order to prevent infection.
The tree pruning sealer functions similarly to a bandage in that it is intended to cover the wound. Their product package asserts that it will speed up the healing process of pruning wounds, reduce the amount of sap that is lost, and protect trees from rot, insects, and fungi. Worrying about tree removal? Then, Tree Amigos tree removal solution is the right choice!
It was a simple Do-It-Yourself activity, and the product was (and still is) available at all garden and big box stores, which contributed to the widespread adoption of the practise among homeowners.
Research in the scientific field was done despite the fact that the theory was sound. During the late 1970s, the Forest Service provided an explanation as to why pruning cuts should not be painted. After the tree has been pruned, you should rather allow it to recover itself through its own natural processes. He emphasised how important it was to follow the appropriate procedures for pruning. He strongly suggested that a fresh cut be allowed to heal on its own without being covered with a wound dressing.
Why Tree Sealant Fell From Grace
Shigo's work was validated by subsequent research. Arborists of today are taught to view the use of sealers as a questionable practise due to the fact that they make it more difficult for trees to recover from being pruned.
After suffering damage, trees are unable to recover on their own, which is a crucial fact to keep in mind. Instead, damage is compartmentalised by a technique termed isolation, which is described by the University of Cooperative Extension. The wound's margin is where the callus tissue first forms, and it eventually extends inward into the centre of the wound. When trees are pruned in the correct manner, the pruning wounds are gradually covered by new growth, which protects the trees from further damage.
These sealant treatments are typically derived from petroleum, however some may contain asphalt. They act as a moisture barrier within the tree wound, which actually promotes the development of more issues rather than preventing them. There are products on the market that promote the use of all-natural components, such as collagen, pectin, or aloe vera. Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that they are beneficial to the tree.
The petroleum and asphalt-based wound dressings are known to:
- seal in moisture and decay;
- sometimes serve as a food source for pathogens;
- prevent wound wood from forming;
- inhibit compartmentalisation;
- eventually crack, exposing the tree to pathogens.
Liked By Neither Tree Nor Human
They’re no fun for humans, either.
According to the safety data sheet for a well-known brand of product, because to the volatile combination of asphalt and solvent that they contain, they are able to:
- They contain gas that is under pressure and have the potential to explode if they are heated.
- It causes severe discomfort to the eyes.
- Irritate the skin in a harmful way.
- Could lead to chromosomal abnormalities.
- Potentially carcinogenic.
The label instructs users to use skin and eye protection and to store the product in a location that is both cold and properly ventilated. As a result of these nuggets of information, it is now somewhat simpler to comprehend the rationale behind the recommendation that you discontinue the use of pruning sealer on your trees.
Should You Seal Pruned Limbs At All?
No, that's the simple answer to that question! It would be beneficial if you did not apply any pruning paint at all in order to seal the pruned limbs. It is in everyone's best interest to just let nature take its course and heal them using the plant defence systems at their disposal.
On top of that, why would you want to put a substance on your tree that can also be used to seal and waterproof rain gutters, roof flashings, wooden planters, the underside of a lawnmower deck, or even tiny parts of asphalt driveways? Do not apply whatever it is that you believe will be effective for these additional applications outside on a tree that is still alive. It seems to me that it would be best to just leave the tree alone so that it can "repair" itself.
It is preferable to take preventative measures rather than to treat wounds caused by trimming. If you follow these guidelines, you can reduce the risk of problems occuring as a result of pruning:
- Before and after each use, pruners should be sterilised in a solution containing 70 percent isopropyl alcohol to prevent the spread of disease. This holds true regardless of the season in which you are performing the pruning or the species of tree that you are tending to.
- After trimming, carefully removing and disposing of any troublesome limbs or branches is an important step in preventing the further spread of disease. Only use mulches or compost that are free of illness.
- Cut cleanly and smoothly, taking care not to leave any stubs while maintaining the integrity of the branch collar.
- Trees should have their branches pruned at the right time of year, particularly in the spring when they are still dormant and have not yet begun to grow leaves. Because of this, they are less likely to become infested with pests or catch illnesses.
The Exception: Oak Trees
Oak wilt is a disease that can affect oak trees in around 24 states. The damage may not be able to be repaired, making it potentially catastrophic. The fungus that is responsible for the disease is transmitted from one tree to another by Nitidulid beetles, which are drawn to the scent of the tree's sap.
After that, the insects move on to another tree while still carrying oak wilt fungus spores on their bodies and propagate the disease. The fragrance of fresh sap can be immediately concealed by covering any trimmed branches as early as possible before the beetles start to scamper.
It is not necessary to use specialised sealants made of rubberized substances or petroleum because most types of painting perform equally well. Because oak tree wilt is such a worry in the area where he is stationed, the pruning of oak trees is discouraged from the months of February through June.
Because the wound paint is only necessary for the first two to four days after the cut has been made, there is no need to reapply paint or to go out and paint old wounds. "The wound paint is only essential for the first two to four days after the cut has been made."
How To Remove Pruning Sealer
You have no doubt that you are currently debating with yourself whether or not the application of a pruning sealer has resulted in permanent harm to your trees. It's possible that you're also considering whether or not you should get rid of it. This is not a question that has a simple response, and curiously, there is not much conversation about it on the internet.
If the pruning cuts on your trees have a sealer applied to them, it is highly recommendation that you remove the sealer if at all feasible. Unfortunately, due to the chemical makeup of the sealer, you won't be able to simply peel it off and throw it away like you normally would. See our list of available arborist services Perth for your tree removal solutions.
It is recommended that a fresh pruning cut be made on the branch in order to successfully remove the pruning sealant. Taking off the paint will reveal a fresh wound in the skin. It would not be necessary to make a new pruning cut that was very far below the previous one. If there is sufficient wood, perhaps a quarter to a half of an inch might be an appropriate thickness. Make sure the cut is clean and straight, and that any equipment you use have been sterilised.
This new wound will cause the tree to start the process of compartmentalisation, which will result in the formation of a new callus to protect the wound in a more natural way.
Before You Use A Pruning Sealer On Trees
It would appear that the benefits of tree pruning are unlimited. The act of pruning results in trees that are both stronger and healthier, which in turn minimises the likelihood that the trees may cause damage to your property. As a result, there will be less damage and less work to do after storms.
In addition, trimming can improve the appearance of your tree and lead to a greater yield of fruit from trees that bear fruit. That's one mouthwatering justification after another for keeping your trees pruned. Let's go over some of the fundamentals first before we get into whether or not you should use a pruning sealer on your trees.
How Does A Tree Heal Itself?
Trees, on the other hand, do not have the ability to heal themselves like animals do. Instead, the affected area should "grow over" the wound or cut. This growth surrounds the cut or wound, isolating it from the rest of the wood's good condition and preventing further infection.
You can still see the old cut on a tree that was pruned or harmed a few years ago, but the tree has grown new growth over the top of it. This may be observed if you take a look at a tree that has been there for a while and pay attention.
The process through which the sap covers the area is a natural one that the tree goes through in order to provide temporary protection against decay and insects. After that, it will begin the process of growing wood over the cut as a callus in order to permanently cover that region and continue growing for many years to come. This process is similar to a wound healing.
In the event that the tree was damaged by a storm or high winds, you might need to make a more precise cut in order to make it simpler for the tree to cover the damaged area. Remember to make your cut just before the "collar" adjacent to the trunk, or if you are cutting off part of a broken branch, make your cut just before a fork or branch on the limb. If you are cutting off part of a damaged branch, make your cut just before the collar close to the trunk.
If you leave a stub, it will take the tree a lot longer to grow over the region and cover it completely. In order for the tree to grow over the stump, the stump will need to decay away completely and fall off. This procedure may take several years, during which time you will be forced to look at the unsightly stub.
What Do You Put On A Tree Wound?
If you are going to be trimming oak trees, it is very recommended that you use a pruning sealer right after you are through. There are a few different products available that can be used to seal the area. Bear in mind that the sealer only has to be effective for around ten days; this is the amount of time necessary for the oak tree to mend itself and stop producing the fresh sap that the beetles require in order to survive.
- Asphalt Sealers - Asphalt sealers are what the majority of people remember seeing when they were children. Asphalt sealers have been around for a long time. It is a sealant that is based on oil and has the appearance and odour of road tar. Even while this material will temporarily stop the sap from leaking out of the tree, which is what attracts the sap beetles, it will not assist the tree in the long run because it is an oil-based product, and do you really believe that helps a wound heal?
- Sealants Made of Latex – As an alternative to the oil-based sealants used in the past, we now have sealants made from latex. Sealers made of latex can achieve the desired results of preventing the sap from leaking and warding off insects until the oak tree has recovered on its own.
- Another alternative to take into consideration is the use of organic natural tree sealers. Keep in mind that the objective is to keep the area around the fresh cut sealed for at least ten days. There are currently many different goods available that are a suitable match.
- Sealers for Homemade Tree Pruning - If you Google "homemade tree pruning sealers," I'm sure you will find a wide variety of recipes and applications; however, there have been no studies that can verify that these sealers are effective, so you should use them at your own discretion and risk. It is likely that if it provides the tree with a complete seal for the required amount of time, it will prevent the attraction of sap beetles, which are responsible for the spread of the Oak Wilt disease.
- Using Household Paints as Sealers – This is something that can be done in an emergency, but it is not something that is encouraged. The problem is that paints are not made for living wood to heal, thus they will not permit the natural process of the tree to take place as it should.
Pruning Sealer Alternatives – Which Have Proven To Be Better
Instead of worrying about which sealer to use or whether to use any at all, it is much more important to prune in the appropriate manner, according to the findings of several studies conducted by educational institutions, agricultural extension services, and forestry services.
If you prune the tree or shrub using the appropriate techniques, it will be able to recover from the wounds more quickly. It creates the optimal conditions for the natural capacity of the sap to perform its function, which is to ward off insects and other vermin. In addition, it is important for the plant to immediately cover the damaged region with new growth.
When you prune tree limbs at the trunk, you will want to make your cuts just before the "collar" that emerges from the trunk and marks the beginning of the limb. If you are going to be pruning the tip of that branch, you should make your cut right next to a fork or another branch at a small angle so that water won't pool there.
When working with shrubs, you should position your cuts such that they are almost touching a fork in the stem. Alternately, if it has numerous stems growing up out of the ground, you should cut it at an angle (up to 45 degrees) as close to the ground as you can while maintaining a straight cut. This will prevent water from pooling on the end that has been cut.
Why Not Use A Pruning Sealer
When seen from a human standpoint, the practise of leaving a wound untreated goes against what most people would regard to be common sense. This is how we typically think about wounds, but it is important to keep in mind that a tree is not a human or even an animal, and hence reacts differently to various stimuli.
Storms of high winds can cause branches to break off of trees in their natural environments. They need a way to defend themselves that does not involve a gardener walking into the woods and administering wound sealant to every cut or scrape. There is no doubt that some of them can cause issues for the tree, but in the vast majority of instances, the tree possesses the natural defence systems necessary to deal with the issue.
No, a tree cannot "heal" itself. It doesn't heal the wound; all it does is cover it up and hide the damage inside the tree. In many cases, it is able to compartmentalise infections and damage to tissue, so isolating them from the healthy tissues and preventing further spread. These damaged places are left in the tree, and if the tree is chopped down many years later, they will be visible.
It is possible to discern scars (compartmentalised damage) created by fires that occurred fifty to one hundred years prior to the tree being chopped down for good. In other cases, the damage done to a tree is too serious and has spread to the tree's roots internally; in these situations, a pruning sealer will not be able to prevent further damage.
There is a school of thought that holds that using pruning sealers can assist stop the tree from "bleeding to death." Trees do not bleed since they do not have blood in their bodies. Because it transports oxygen throughout an animal's body, the blood plays a vital role in the animal's overall health. The sap of a plant transports water, minerals, and carbohydrates, but it does not transport oxygen.
When an animal loses blood, it will eventually die of cell death due to a lack of oxygen. This issue does not affect plants in any way. They are able to suffer significant sap loss without suffering serious harm. The tree receives moisture from the sap as it drips down. The use of pruning sealers will not have much of an impact on the amount of sap that drips. It just stops happening on its own as a natural consequence of the tree compartmentalising the wound.
There are a number of different pruning sealer chemicals, many of which are black and contain asphalt. This dark substance is rather heated to the touch as a result of its ability to soak up our new sunlight. The heat has the potential to harm the delicate cells that the tree creates in order to repair the pruning wound, which in turn slows the wound's closure and compartmentalisation.
Less damage is done by products with lighter colours; however, any substance that contains a petroleum-based solvent has the potential to injure freshly formed wound closure cells. The pruning sealer is not required, according to the findings of recent scientific research.
The correct method of pruning is of far greater significance. With an understanding of the architecture and physiology of trees, we are able to prune them so that the tree can make use of its own defence mechanisms while still being healthy. It is also smart to do as little tree pruning as possible in landscape trees by beginning the training process when the tree is still young. This article will help you make a decision about tree stumping and removal. Here at Tree Amigo, we’re passionate about trees!
If you prune off the tree's young, smaller branches when it's still young, you won't have to prune off its older, larger branches later. The massive wounds that are caused to the tree as a result of the removal of large branches make the situation more challenging.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pruning
Pruning is the process of removing dead, diseased or damaged plant material in order to encourage new growth. It can also be used to control the shape and size of a plant or to remove unwanted branches. Pruning is typically done with shears, knives, or saws.
It is important to make clean cuts at the right angle when pruning. Otherwise, the plant may not heal properly or may become susceptible to disease. However, with proper care and attention, pruning can help a plant stay healthy and vigorous for years to come.
Trees are a big investment. Not only do they add value to your home, but they also provide shade, privacy, and beauty. While most trees require little more than regular watering and occasional fertilisation, they will benefit from periodic pruning. Pruning helps remove dead or damaged limbs, improving the tree's appearance and preventing disease.
It can also help direct the tree's growth, shaping it into a more compact form. It is generally best to prune trees in the late winter or early spring before new growth begins. However, some types of trees, such as maple and oak, should not be pruned during this time period. If you're unsure when to prune your trees, consult a professional arborist for advice.
While it may seem counterproductive, pruning dead branches can benefit your plant's health. Dead branches provide a home for pests and diseases, which can then spread to the rest of the plant. In addition, dead branches can prevent light and water from reaching the rest of the plant, causing it to become unhealthy.
By pruning away dead branches, you allow light and water to reach the leaves and other parts of the plant, which can help it to stay healthy. In addition, pruning can also help to stimulate growth by encouraging the plant to produce new buds. As a result, pruning dead branches is beneficial for your plant's health.
Pruning is the act of cutting away dead or overgrown branches from a plant. While pruning can be beneficial for some plants, it can also be detrimental if not done correctly. Some of the advantages of pruning include promoting new growth, increasing fruit production, and improving the plant's overall appearance.
However, pruning can also cause harm to a plant if done incorrectly. It can damage delicate branches, stimulate unhealthy growth, and provide an entry point for disease. As a result, it is important to be familiar with the proper techniques for pruning before attempting to do so. However, with a little knowledge and care, pruning can be a helpful tool for keeping plants healthy and attractive.
When caring for plants, pruning and cutting are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, there is a subtle but important difference between the two techniques. Pruning refers to the removal of dead or dying branches from a plant, as well as any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other.
This helps to encourage new growth and improve the overall shape of the plant. Cutting, on the other hand, is usually done for aesthetic reasons. It involves trimming back plants so that they appear neater and more controlled. While both pruning and cutting can be beneficial for plants, it is important to use the correct technique for the desired effect.