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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sappy Pine Trees Might Need Pruning Paint

Q. I trim my 80 foot pine tree every 7 to 8 years. Each time I have buckets and buckets of sap coming from cut limbs. It just re-landscaped underneath this tree but I need to prune it again. I'm worried about all the sap that is going to fall on everything I just put down. Is there a way I might prevent the sap from dripping like using pruning paint?

A. Most of what you hear is not to use pruning paints anymore to cover wounds on trees. They are considered primarily cosmetic and do not assist the tree in healing. That is true.

            There are claims and some research to support the idea that pruning paints may actually cause some harm to a tree. But even so, they will not kill a tree or severely weaken it.
            Pruning paints or similar compounds are still used in the propagation of trees such as grafting and topworking. The primary objection to using pruning paints is similar to why we no longer recommend using Band-Aids to cover a healing flesh wound.
            In this particular case I would go ahead and try it since the benefit to you may get from using it may outweigh any negatives to the tree.

1 comment:

  1. This is a response I received in an email from a reader regarding this posting.

    I am a newcomer to Las Vegas and have lived in Summerlin for about two years. When I arrived I was floored with what I saw City workers doing to the trees along our neighborhood streets. They cut all lower branches leaving ugly wounds and, eventually, misshapen, tree trunks, and dying trees. I coined a new word: canopyization. Also add to that, uglification.

    I have attached two pictures of trees along Anasazi Drive. They demonstrate that your implication that leaving trees alone after pruning is the best way for them to heal is incorrect, as is the analogy with band aids is incorrect. These trees NEVER heal, leave ugly sap on the sidewalks for years, and eventually must be pulled and replaced.

    So, if not Tree Wound or pruning paint what could possibly be done for these severely damaged trees. Surely leaving them alone is not the answer.