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Cherry tree cracked, what to do?


 
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daigo75
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:11 am    Post subject: Cherry tree cracked, what to do? Reply with quote

Hi all,
We have an old cherry tree in the garden which has never been pruned in years. It grew like a "Y", with a main vertical stem and a large branch going sideways. Yesterday I heard a loud crack, and today I found out that the branch fell on the ground. It's not detached from the tree, but there's a big vertical crack in the trunk. I wonder what would be the best thing to do in this case:
- Cut the cracked branch? In this case, should I let the tree heal itself?
- Support the cracked branch and "tie it back" to the trunk? Would it even work?

Sorry if the questions are silly, I'm not an expert of trees. Thank you for your help.



Photo0153.jpg
 Description:
Split tree. The cracked branch is the one on the left, now "resting" on a branch of an adjacent tree.
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Photo0153.jpg



Photo0152.jpg
 Description:
The crack, seen from one side.
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Photo0152.jpg



Photo0151.jpg
 Description:
The crack, seen from the other side.
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Photo0151.jpg




Last edited by daigo75 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hard to be definite without seeing the tree, but from the explanation I would be more in the limb removal camp. feel free to post a pic though.

How do I make the pruning cut?
If you have a damaged tree there are some steps you can take to avoid bad shape, decay and possible death of one of the gardens linchpins. Step one in the removal process is to clear the area of on-lookers (spouses, children, pets etc.), also ensure you have a clear escape route should something unforeseen occur. A safety body approved hard hat and stout gloves should be worn whilst pruning damaged trees. Using a sharp hand saw cut the branch into manageable lengths from the outermost point inwards. Leave a stub of approx 1ft (30cm) attached to the tree trunk.

Undercutting and wound sealing your tree.
Next make a shallow undercut on the stub approx 4 inches (10cm) if possible from the trunk. Of course in your case daigo75 you may have to cut much closer to the trunk to get a clean cut. Avoid "jagged" cuts, which can lead to damage and disease infestation.

Cut the stub from above approx 1 inch (2.5 cm) away from the trunk. Hold the stub whilst cutting, holding the stub and the earlier undercutting will prevent the trunk bark from being torn below the branch.

Lightly pare the edges of the cut surface with a knife to make them smooth. Some horticultural advisors say that the wound should be painted with tar based wound paint, disregard this. The latest theory is to leave the wound unpainted, tests have found that painting actually seals in diseases rather than keep them out.

The natural gums exuded over time time assist healing. The wound should start to callus (heal) within 3 months.

Once again let me advise you to call in a tree surgeon if the job is larger than your experience.

Some info in this post taken from my article on tree pruning

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daigo75
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I added the pictures. The crack is quite long, I'd say a good 30-40 centimeters. I was wondering if it would be possible to "pull" the two pars back together and tie them so that they will heal in one piece. Probably the branch has to be removed first, it's very heavy.

Another silly questions: since the branch is so large, would it be possible to "transform" it into a second tree? Or maybe trees don't grow roots so easily?
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Simply a case for removal judging by the pics.
A bit too big of a "cutting" to grow roots unfortunately.

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daigo75
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks James. It's a pity that such a huge branch can't regrow roots, it's strong and healthy... I'll make it firewood then. Hopefully, the tree will survive, although I'm afraid it won't bring cherries any time soon.

Once the branch has been cut, should I attempt to bring the two cracked pieces together with a rope or something? Do trees heal like us, when two "flaps" are hold together?
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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would agree with james, the tree is beyond repairing the branch back into place. Cut off the branch and clean or pare with a knife the remains of the wound. The tree will heal itself but it does help to coat the wound with Medo or "wound heal" or flat white paint. By applying any of these not only does the wound heal faster but it helps to keep out diseases.
michael brenock horticultural advisor *(retired).

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daigo75
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Michael. May I just ask you how should I pare the remains of the wound? I don't have experience with this kind of issues, and I'm not even sure I have the proper knife. Do you have any link where I could see what I should do, to use as a reference? Thanks.

PS: I shouldn't be worried for the tree, should I? It's a beautiful tree, full of flowers, I hope it will survive.
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michael brenock
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cherries are susceptible to Silver leaf disease and this is fairly widespread. The disease can kill Cherry and plum trees and gains entry through wounds in the bark. So you should take precautions against such infection. Pare the wound to remove jagged edges and then paint over. Infection is at lowest risk in the Summer.
michael brenock horticultural advisor (retired)

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daigo75
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2011 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all for the help. I'll probably involve the landlord in this issue, I don't have the equipment, just a saw and a pair of gloves.
Meanwhile, where can I find the Medo? As I said earlier, trees and bushes are not my field, I'm not really sure where to start. Thanks.
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daigo75
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although I managed to cut the branch (by hand, hours of work), the strong wind blew down what was left not long after. I'm now looking for someone who would like to help me chopping it into firewood, thanks.
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hasgotalot2learn 8-)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maybe i am too late if not are there any wood turners near you?
Cherry wood is a very pretty colour so a wood turner may take the branch away for you and maybe give you a thank you present made from the branch?
takes a few years for the wood to dry out before it can be used.
hope your tree is recovering well.

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daigo75
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tip. The tree is now dead; after I cut the hanging branch, the wind blew down what was left. It's now "resting" outside the garden, in my landlord's property (he removed it with a bulldozer), so I will have to ask him for permission to enter and do anything with it. I'll check with the guild anyway, I'd like to have something made out of it. Smile
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