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Author Topic: Maple Needs Rescued  (Read 524 times)

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Offline Jesse Duke

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Maple Needs Rescued
« on: May 21, 2020, 11:15:12 AM »
When my daughter was a year old in 1985 I dug up a sapling soft maple out back that was probably from the year before and planted it in the front yard so she could always see a tree that is her age. I noticed it getting a separation many years ago so I always put that tree repair paint on it. (it was smooth and didn't look too bad) But now something has gone wrong. The bad spot opened up and there was all kinds of wet sawdust type junk in there. I cleaned it out. The opening is less than an inch wide but over a foot long and when you stick a long screwdriver up and down the cavity is longer than that. The depth is a third the diameter of the tree. (if needed I'll see if my wife can figure out how to post a picture....I'm horrible with tech) It doesn't look like it will ever get dry in there but if we get a dry spell this summer and it does should I fill it with something? This tree is special because she ended up being my only biological child.....and when she was little named it Emily. Several years after that she ended up with a step sister named Emily!. The tree is fantastic otherwise.....tall, full and as beautiful as my daughter. 

Offline Jesse Duke

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Re: Maple Needs Rescued
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2020, 05:52:53 PM »
I just talked to my dad. He told me that the old timers would just fill it with cement. He reminded me of the time when my grandfather hit cement and messed up his chain when cutting a tree on my great-grandparents property. It's something that I had forgotten but came back to me. I think I'll pass on that idea until I hear from a pro!

Offline Don P

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Re: Maple Needs Rescued
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2020, 08:06:49 PM »
I think the general opinion nowadays is that all of those tree goos and packing with cement do more harm than good. I've heard of some folks scraping the edges to try to get wound repair going. Trees don't "heal", they compartmentalize and cover. If you've ever seen the curling "ram's horns" when you cut through an old injury while making firewood that is the basic repair method trees use. You might want to bore a weep hole below the bottom of the cavity upward into the void so it can drain but I'm not an arborist. You can google Alex Shigo, sadly he's gone now but he probably understood and wrote about this side of trees more than anyone.
A laborer works with his hands
A craftsman uses his brain and his hands
An artist uses his brain, his hands, and his heart

Offline Jesse Duke

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Re: Maple Needs Rescued
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2020, 01:43:12 AM »
Thanks for your response Don. So I guess filling them with cement wasn't something that was unique to my area back then. You're right. It's important to not make it worse. 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Maple Needs Rescued
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2020, 11:22:02 PM »
Maple is a sweet sugary tree.  The stuff ants and grubs and mushrooms love.  If you cap this thing youre just giving all that stuff a better home.  Keep it open.

If rain pours right in, i would consider nailing on a tin raincap over the top of the wound, long before cementing.   I dont mean a cover to hide it from sight (and sun and wind which will help keep the wound dry), i mean like an eyebrow or drip edge on a car.  Just a deflector to get the bulk of water to pass the crevice rather than fill in.  

If i leave a maple log on the ground with bark it will be filled with bugs in no time.  Stripping the bark prevents most of that so if theres loose bark over the wound peel it off. 

Revelation 3:20

Offline Jesse Duke

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Re: Maple Needs Rescued
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2020, 03:08:36 PM »
Maple is a sweet sugary tree.  The stuff ants and grubs and mushrooms love.  If you cap this thing youre just giving all that stuff a better home.  Keep it open.


Thanks Mike. There were grubs in it when I cleaned it out. If it ever dries out inside why wouldn't it be better to fill the cavity with 3 or 4 tubes of caulk? If anything was left inside after cleaning it, it would just die. I should add that I think it would only get dry enough in an extended dry spell.....even then it may not if internal seeping is creating moisture. 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Maple Needs Rescued
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2020, 10:15:20 PM »
A live tree pulls water out of the ground.  Its never gonna get really dry in there until you put the tree in a kiln.  Sealing it just block out the sun and wind, the only things thatll reduce moisture in the wound.  This cap ensures the constant moisture required for a perfect habitat to grow the fungus, bacteria, microbes and bugs that turn wood fiber back into dirt.
Revelation 3:20

Offline clearcut

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Re: Maple Needs Rescued
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2020, 02:48:44 AM »
The tree has compartmentalized the damage to the best of it's ability at this point and better to not disturb it. However, you don't want water to collect.  So as long as the wound can drain, there is not anything more to do here. For aesthetics or to keep water out, expanding closed cell foam insulation can be used. It flexes with the tree. Easy to remove. Note dangerous to hit with a chainsaw.

Keep the tree in a healthy condition. Aerate the soil surrounding the tree. Test the soil, as recommended add nutrients. Fertilizer, compost and additional organic material will benefit any growing plant.  

Offline Jesse Duke

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Re: Maple Needs Rescued
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2020, 05:58:31 PM »
Thanks everybody. I guess the best action is inaction sometimes. 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Maple Needs Rescued
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2020, 08:49:21 AM »
Spend the time that you would invest in the tree, with your daughter.  Its just a tree.  She is the miracle that it reminds you of.


Revelation 3:20

Offline Jesse Duke

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Re: Maple Needs Rescued
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2020, 10:34:00 PM »
Thanks Mike. Now that's great advice that I will follow. 


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