I am well aware of the thought that trees in Texas respond differently to
wounds than in other states. Could you please explain how wound dressing
help trees in Texas when it does not in other states? If you know how to
prune trees correctly than wound dressing would not be of any value. If you
do not prune trees correctly wound dressing does not stop or stall the
spread of pathogens or does it stop rot.
Don't spoil your proper pruning job by coating the wounds with tree paint or
wound dressing. After over 13 years of wood dressing research, Dr. Shigo
and Dr. Shortle concluded that these paints do nothing to prevent decay and
little or nothing to promote wound closure.
There are no data to show that wound dressings prevent or stall decay.
Microorganisms have their picnics and parties under wound dressings.
It is the wound dressing idea more than the material that is dangerous.
People are taught that you can do anything you want to a tree and all you
have to do is paint it black and it is a forgiveness of sin. Trees do not
function that way.
Heartrot and wound dressings are twins.
Wound dressings do not stop rot. I incorrect pruning starts a long list of
costly problems: cankers, sun scald, frost cracks, insect borers and the
list goes on and on.
The search for new wound dressings continues, and I doubt that it will ever
end. Many claims are made, but they are not supported by sound data from
experiments with controls and dissections after five to seven years.
The real problem with wound dressings is not the dressing, but the idea
behind the dressing. Throughout the history of tree treatments, tree
mutilations were accepted mainly because some "magic medicine" would cover
the wounds and prevent infections and rot. This idea gave every tree
mutilator free reign over a multitude of incorrect procedures that included
flush cutting, topping, tipping, digging deeply into wounds, inserting drain
tubes, pointing vertical tips of wounds, and injecting deeply into trunks.
The wound dressing idea has been the major problem holding back progress for
better tree care procedures. Sad, but the idea is continuously being
reinforced not only by people who see trees as a source of profit, but even
worse, by people who are supposed to be researchers. The idea is kept alive
by promises of the magic medicine coming soon. The promise has been active
for at least two centuries. The idea allows anyone to become an arborist or
tree expert any time he or she wishes. History shows this to be true.
I used to use wound dressing until I found out that the treatment is of no
value to the tree. If you wanted to make a cavity for a small wildlife you
could make a flush cut and paint the wound. This would stimulate decay and
create a cavity. Good for small wildlife but not good for the tree.
No matter what we say or write some people will still pursue wound dressing.
The sad part is most people who claim wound dressing helps are people who do
not understand trees. They make claims that wound dressings help trees
"heal". Trees seal but do not heal wounds. Heal is an animal term not a
Texas has gone through a long period of flush cuts from years past. many
problems with trees is directly related to flush cuts and wound dressing
that were applied in the past. Wound dressings and flush cuts were the
treatments of the past which gave us many problems of the present. What
would really help trees for the future is adjustments to pruning.
John A. Keslick, Jr.
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