How to Save a Tree With Damaged Bark

The professionals at Arborist Aboard explain how to save a tree with damaged bark and maintain your trees for years to come. If your tree suffers, contact Odessa’s tree service experts for guidance on preventing wounds from harming its health.

Keep reading to learn about tree care and how to save your hurting tree.

Why Is Tree Bark Important? 

Tree bark works like skin, protecting the tree and preventing bacteria from entering the trunk. Bark protects against physical wounds due to the following:

  • Lawnmowers
  • Weed whackers
  • Severe storms
  • Insects

A tree’s bark holds some connective tissue and brings nutrients and water between the roots and canopy.

However, trees do not heal like animals or humans. Once a tree receives a wound, it grows around the damaged bark with a new layer of tissue. This callous-like covering prevents bacteria and fungi from entering the wood and protects the tree wound.

Proper Tree Wound Care Steps 

A damaged tree requires proper care to ensure its survival. In the following, the professionals at Arborist Abroad explain what to do for your hurting tree.

1: Inspect the Wound

Inspect the wound on the tree. You may need professional help to ensure survival if the wound covers over 25% of the entire tree. If the wound covers over 50%, the tree’s chance of survival is slim.

You may need a professional bridge graft if the wound covers over 50% of the tree. If the damage is over 25% but under 50%, the tree may survive but won’t grow as lush as it once did. The tree’s canopy may grow smaller and less attractive with extensive damage.

Once you’ve determined the extent of the damage, you may begin repairing the torn bark.

2: Remove Jagged Bark

Using a sharp chisel and hammer, carefully round out the jagged edges. This step is one of the most important when learning how to save a tree with damaged bark. Be careful not to remove excess or healthy bark, as you’ll open the wound and create a larger problem.

Never cut sharp or jagged corners; you must smooth out the injury. Preferably, the wound becomes an oval with only soft edges, smoothed until you reach healthy bark.

Ensure you do not chisel at the wood—only work with the damaged bark. Sharp edges prove difficult for the tree to grow over.

3: Clean the Damaged Area

With gloved hands, remove any loose or torn bark. Loose bark will not reattach and may provide hiding spaces for pests trying to enter the tree. When you have finished, the wound should appear trimmed and clean of rough edges or dangling pieces.

4: Fertilize

Standard proper care helps the tree regain its strength and heal more quickly. To boost the tree’s chances, fertilize using a brand specific to the tree species and water thoroughly. Always fertilize after the tree receives a wound to optimize its odds of living.

About Wound Dressings 

Professionals do not use wound dressings or tree paint because they’ve proven ineffective. Wound dressings work against your tree in many ways, including the following:

  • They inhibit the tree’s natural healing process.
  • It serves as a food source for pathogens, creating further issues for the tree.
  • The paint prevents drying and promotes fungal or bacterial growth.

For optimal results, skip the tree paint! 

Contact Arborist Abroad Today 

Sealing tree wounds often do not help the tree, but many healthier options remain to help your tree survive and protect its wound. If your tree received damage, and you’d like to learn more about how to save a tree with damaged bark, contact Arborist Aboard at (813) 920-4410 and request assistance in Odessa, FL, today.


Arborist Aboard is owned and operated by an ISA Certified Arborist and a second-generation tree care professional. We take great pride in our work and the customers we serve, commercial and residential.

Contact Us

8611 Vivian Bass Way
Odessa, FL. 33556
(813) 920-4410

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