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Pruning Paint , Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'Plant Health' started by kevinj, Nov 30, 2006.

  1. kevinj

    kevinj Whatarya, Goofy?

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    After most of my cuts on 2 in. or larger tree limbs, I have used Tanglefoot tree wound dressing. Especially on Oak trees due to infections and disease. Is this a good practice or am I just wasting my time? Thanks to all who reply!:
     
  2. sawinredneck

    sawinredneck Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Get a lot better answers in Arborist 101, maybe a mod can move it?
    From what I have read, most don't recomend it anymore?
    Andy
     
  3. B_Turner

    B_Turner Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I have a brother who is a longtime arborist and master gardner and he says the consensus in the field (and much research that has been done) is that painting or even treating a cut branch is usually not helpful. He does not do it or recommend it.

    Just seconding the last post.

    He does say not to cut the branch quite flush to promote good healing. I don't remember the specifics.

    Edit: My brother's recommendation is a general one for common types of trees and bushes here in the NW. I am sure he would cite exceptions if I pressed him.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2006
  4. Lakeside53

    Lakeside53 Stihl Wrenching

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    I agree - no sealer..
     
  5. BostonBull

    BostonBull Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I agree not to use sealer....let mother nature do her work. You aret fast enough spraying that stuff to prevent Oak Wilt anyways.

    P.S. This has been discussed extensively in the past. Do a search.
     
  6. Kneejerk Bombas

    Kneejerk Bombas Tree Freak

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    I'll disagree with all the responses so far.
    Oak Wilt is spread by insects to open wounds, so unless you have really fast bugs, the paint should be effective. During the time of year the temperatures are above 50F, or could be within about a week, paint new wounds on Oaks.
    If there is no specific disease you are trying to avoid, paint probably doesn't offer much in the way of decay prevention, so mostly, don't paint.
    If it's a big cut, paint does make a nice cosmetic touch.
     
  7. TreeTopKid

    TreeTopKid AboristSite Guru

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    I was always taught that wound dressing of any sort was bad, and never used it while I was living in England. Since moving to Texas I have been banging my head against a brick wall with a client who insists it prevents Boring insects. I just can't see how myself and it is becoming a of a bone of contention between me, and the other Arborist. I would not recommend using it for anything else than maybe cosmeticly on the odd occasion.
     
  8. windthrown

    windthrown Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Nope...

    Even in my days as a landscape gardener and tree pruner back in the early 80's when I got a certificate in horticulture, they taught us not to use tree sealer or paint on pruned trees and shrubs. I have pruned thousands of roses, shrubs and trees and never used the stuff. Never needed it. Never saw the need for it. If you make the cuts right; slope them so that water falls off to one side and does not pool on the cut, do not cut too close to the base, and use a sharp saw or pruners to cut with. :greenchainsaw:
     
  9. Kneejerk Bombas

    Kneejerk Bombas Tree Freak

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    How about Oak Wilt? You have that down in TX, don't you? What is the insect vector?
    Here in the midwest the main insect vector for Oak Wilt is a Nitadulid, which is attracted to fresh cuts and can't chew through bark, so paint is very effective.
    What boring insect, specifically, does your friend think paint will prevent?
    There have been studies that show recently trimmed trees are more attractive to boring insects, part of that may very well be chemical attractants, possibly hormones, given off at the wound sites. Many experts feel painting wounds on American Elms, for example, will reduce the attraction to Elm Bark Beetles, a borer.

    Take each tree species, and each insect or disease, one at a time and determine if paint is likely to offer some protection.
    To make a blanket statement that paint is bad, is so obviously wrong, you lose credibility even saying it.
     
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  10. OTG BOSTON

    OTG BOSTON Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I agree whole heartedly. Cosmetics and vector prevention are what I use it for.
     
  11. treeseer

    treeseer Advocatus Pro Arbora

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    And I would add prevention of cracking on very big wounds.
     
  12. gumneck

    gumneck AboristSite Guru

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    I've never done any scientific experiments, but when I make large cuts on peach trees I always paint to keep from having borer problems later on. I've never seen it bother a tree I had to do it to. In fact, I've painted entire trunks with a 50/50 water/wh latex solution to keep from getting sunscald on bare trunks.
     
  13. windthrown

    windthrown Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Tanglefoot and whitewash

    Tree 'wound paint' I do not use after limbing, nor do I advise using it. Looking at the UC Davis Master Gardener web site, they (still) do not recommend using it. However, there is a distinction to make about painting trees, and some paints are recommended that I use.

    I have used Tanglefoot 'sticky goop' to ring trees to keep the ants off of them. Very effective. Not really paint, but you mentioned Tanglefoot brand in your original post. Ants will colonize a tree and load it up with aphids and scale and farm them. Not good for the tree. You have to scrape the goop every so often after it is applied to keep it sticky though. Otherwise it gets covered in dust and debris and the ants will build a freeway bridge across it.

    Painting tree trunks with 50:50 latex/water to avoid sun scald and prevent borers is a good idea. Painting cuts to prevent sunburn with this stuff is also fine. When dormant pruning fruit trees, wait until later in the winter to prune them (Feb/Mar). Studies show that trees heal faster that time of year, and diseases are less likely to infect a tree then (especially with apricots). Also make cuts so that water does not stand or bead up on them by sloping them, preferably away from the tree. Also deep cut the underside of a branch before cutting to prevent bark peeling and splitting, and leave enough of a stump on the tree where the cut is made so as to not injure the trunk.
     
  14. TreeTopKid

    TreeTopKid AboristSite Guru

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  15. Treecareconcept

    Treecareconcept ArboristSite Lurker

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    Paint????

    The practice of using tree wound dressing is not as popular as it was years ago. When I first started in 1984 I was taught to paint any wound larger that a few inches. Now the ISA recommends that you not apply dressing unless a customer requests it for asthetic reasons. In my opinion, I have found that the dressing really does not accomplish much other than change the color of the wound. I have even noticed that after a few years the dressing can even start to lift and seperate from the wound like old paint. As to preventing Oak Wilt a better practice might be to avoid making large wounds on oaks at the time of year when the vectoring insects most active. We have Eucalyptus Long Horned borers on the west coast. They too are attracted to fresh wounds. Just waiting until a different time of year when the insect (Moth) is in a different life stage helps prevent infestation.
    But I see no real harm in the practice, if the customer ask me to paint the cut, I'll paint it for them.
     
  16. Sprig

    Sprig Addicted to ArboristSite

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    This is intersting stuff and I've seen it discussed in several different threads. Personally I have never used any sort of sealants on stubs btw on the few jobs I have done. I have a question or three for you of more knowledge. Firstly, in sealing the end of a branch stump, does this effect the tree's natural responses? I mean in forming callous? Do penetrating paints alter the way the tree heals itself? Makes sense if you use something like paints. Do some of them maybe actually poison the plant? Has anyone tried a short term sealant that just allows the tree to recover and start to heal, stopping vectoring bugs, fungus/dry rots (whatever) from getting in there? Has anyone experimented with other solutions, like honey for example? Or a sugar or sap based sealant? (no no not pitch/tar) I am thinking these thoughts because I have seen many older trees that were prunned very close that have failed, eventualy, because of rot and insects, does having the branch cut too closely to the trunk give easy pickings for parasites and mold to infect the area? Trees near these (they are/were apple trees 70-100yrs old) that had branches with 6"-1' stubs seem to have faired much better (these were ones done 20-30 years ago and large 6-10" branches). I know nothing about this but am really curious and am asking an honest q here. I can see where planning your cuts to allow water drainage away from the wound makes good sense too. I want to know more. Tis a good thread.
    Thanks for patience gents, I do know I'm :deadhorse: but some things bear repeating and discussing, this I think is one.

    :cheers:
     
  17. TreeTopKid

    TreeTopKid AboristSite Guru

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    Wound Dressings


    ................................

    Thats true the ISA advise that you don't use wound dressing because there is no conclusive evidence that it actually works. That said at the ISAT Tree Conference there was a speaker from a large company that recommend that you 'should' use wound dressing. So it is definately an open debate at the moment.

    Back in the 1980s I saw a beautiful Englise Oak Quercus robur Linnaeus ruined by an application of A****x which resulted in moisture getting behind the paint on some major cuts causing what was a perfectly healthy tree to die back and decline over the next ten years which resulted in ourselves having to remove the tree.
     
  18. Kneejerk Bombas

    Kneejerk Bombas Tree Freak

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    There is some confusion about what wound dressings do or don't do.
    They do not significantly slow or speed decay. Nor do they significantly alter wound closure.
    Dressings should only be used to prevent insect vectors from spreading disease and possibly for cosmetics.
    Treetop kid, your cause and effect logic in the case of the Oak is definitely flawed! You saw large cuts on a mature tree become rotted, and deduced that the paint caused the rot. When you make large cuts on any mature tree, you are asking for exactly what this tree got, paint or no paint!
    Now if you had large cuts on a thousand similar trees, some painted and some not, and there was a statistical difference showing painted cut did worse, then you could start drawing conclusions.
    The fact is these studies have been done.

    If you have Oak Wilt in your area and your pruning activity caused a customers trees to become infected, you would be liable for the value of those trees and any trees connected by root grafts.

    Managing Oak trees is best left to times of the year when the insects are frozen, but that's not always possible.
     
  19. Treecareconcept

    Treecareconcept ArboristSite Lurker

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    Lets see if I can answer some of these.
    The asphalt base in some sealants could affect some trees natural defense system. Trees respond to wounding, and any thing that could affect that natural response could affect the tree. Notice I didn't say will affect, each tree needs to approached by the individual character of the tree.
    Tree don't really "heal" wounds, they cover the wound with callus wood and bark.
    Some trees are naturally better at responding to wounding, which means they have a better defense against decay. CODIT is the term used here.
    I haven't heard of any alternatives to the typical tree sealants.
    Cutting a limb too close (flush cuts) to it's attachment point can cause excessive decay. The branch collar needs to be preserved by making the final cut just outside the branch bark ridge.
    I'm sure others will want to weigh in here with their thought and opinions, so check back.
     
  20. TreeTopKid

    TreeTopKid AboristSite Guru

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