Is sealing tree wounds necessary? The answer is a surprising “No,” in most cases. In this post, Arborist Aboard, Tampa’s tree service company, explains when you need to seal tree injuries and when to leave them alone.
How Sealants Can Harm Tree Health
Trees have their own wound dressings in the form of callus tissue. Sealing tree wounds prevents this tissue formation, traps moisture, and can provide the ideal conditions for fungal growth. In most cases, you should allow the trees to heal themselves.
Should You Use a Tree Pruning Sealer?
Where did you first hear that you should seal pruning cuts? Was it perhaps from a company that makes a product that performs this function? It is better to use the right trimming technique and let the tree heal on its own.
But why? The sealant slows recovery, and the sealed-in moisture can cause the wood to rot.
When Should You Use Sealant?
Sealers are not completely useless, however. An old or unhealthy tree may benefit from these products if you have to prune it or if a branch breaks off.
Oaks and elms, in particular, are susceptible to wilt diseases, so sealing tree wounds on these species makes sense when there is disease around.
What Types of Sealants Are There?
There are several types of products on the market, but the most common are:
- Oil-Based: Effective at excluding insects, these products contain no curative properties.
- Organic: This is the most natural product and might help the tree heal faster.
- Latex: This is better for trees than an oil-based product and is effective against insects.
- Home-made: Everyone has their own version, but these are not always good. Using aloe gel is the least risky.
What Goes into Most Sealants?
If you feel sealing tree wounds is necessary, please look for organic products that include ingredients like collagen or aloe gel as their main ingredient.
Other sealants contain ingredients like latex, petroleum, and asphalt. While these products are effective, they have no nutritional value for the tree.
Can You Use Paint, Whitewash, or Vaseline?
Painting or whitewashing trees are two old-fashioned remedies that many people still use today. Both methods were standard practice for previous generations, but today, we know the result of using these methods. The toxic elements in these materials are likely to do more harm than good.
While they will seal the wound, they also release VOCs that slow healing down. This is a practice best left in the old advice books.
Some people may advise you to use vaseline, but remember that this is a petroleum-based product and might do more harm than good. However, if the choice is between this and an asphalt product, vaseline is the better option.
Still, we would reserve this as a last resort and only use it on evergreens that produce much sap, like pines and spruces. The vaseline won’t affect these trees as badly and is highly effective in stopping sap loss. It also repels bugs.
To Seal or Not to Seal?
Sealing tree wounds is seldom necessary if your trees are in good condition, even after pruning. As long as you use the correct trimming technique, your trees are wonderfully resilient. If you are unsure or feel the damage is extensive, call the professionals at Arborist Aboard to assess it for you.
Contact Us Today!
As your professional arborist consulting service, Arborist Aboard is here to advise you about your tree’s health. If you feel that sealing tree wounds may be necessary in Tampa, FL, schedule a professional evaluation by calling (813) 920-4410.