How to Protect Tree Wounds


Trees get damaged all the time, whether its through a bad pruning job, a wind storm, the constant rubbing together of its branches or numerous other natural or man-made situations. As living organisms, trees have natural defenses to quickly counteract the effects of damage, but will respond positively to various management tactics that can help protect the wound and ensure a rapid healing process.

Step 1

Cut off any of the broken, ragged edges of the bark surrounding the tree wound with a knife, according to the University of Tennessee. For the quickest healing, the university suggests trimming the wound into an oval shape running parallel with the trunk's vertical surface.

Step 2

Apply a light coating of tree wound dressing, such as tree paint or tar available from most nurseries. Research conflicts on the effectiveness of such dressings to protect the tree, but even critics like Ohio State University and North Carolina State University recommend using such dressings to improve the tree's appearance while it's healing.

Step 3

Fertilize and water the tree regularly as appropriate for its specific species to help the tree recover quickly. This is the best option for helping protect a tree from more damage and encourages the rapid healing and wound closure of the tree, according to the University of Tennessee.

Step 4

Prune back surrounding branches and vegetation to keep other tree limbs or plant parts from rubbing against the wound. Such friction can aggravate the area and make the wound worse.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Tree wound dressing
  • Fertilizer
  • Water
  • Pruning shears


  • "The Gardener's Guide to Planting and Growing Trees"; Michael Buffin; 2007
  • Ohio State University: How to Care for Tree Wounds
  • University of Tennessee: Tree Wounds - Response of Trees and What You Can Do
  • North Carolina State University: Pruning Trees
Keywords: protect tree wounds, heal tree wounds, fix tree wound

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.