How to Save a Broken Fruit Tree
Fruit trees can be damaged by high winds, ice and a heavy fruit load resulting in the splitting of large branches and trunks. You can save a broken fruit tree if you work quickly to repair fresh damage and do not let the tree’s exposed tissues dry out. Properly prune your damaged fruit tree once it is repaired to take weight strain off the repaired areas if necessary.
Pull the limbs of the fruit tree together to close the split in the trunk. Use a winch to slowly pull the tree limbs together. Wrap the limbs in old towels or blankets before wrapping the winch wires around them.
Drill a hole completely through the tree trunk at a right angle to the split. Choose a wood drill bit sized slightly smaller than the diameter of the all-thread rod used to support the tree. All-thread rods are available in different diameters; the larger the diameter of the rod, the more weight it supports. If you choose a 1/2-inch all-thread rod to support your fruit tree, use a 7/16-inch drill bit.
Thread a washer and nut onto one end of the all-thread rod and drive it through the trunk with a hammer. Thread another washer and nut on the other end of the all-thread rod and tighten the nut to hold the split trunk together with an adjustable box end wrench. Use a hacksaw to remove any excess all-thread rod. As the fruit tree heals, the bark grows over the rod.
Trim any wood or bark from around the fruit tree’s injured area with a utility knife. Spray borer preventative around the damaged area to prevent borer invasion.
Remove the winch from the tree limbs. If the repair of the tree does not appear to hold the weight of the limbs, replace the winch and install an additional all-thread rod.
- Old towels or blankets
- Wood drill bit
- All-thread rod
- Adjustable box end wrench
- Utility knife
- Borer preventative
- University of Illinois Extension: How to Care for Ice-Damaged Trees
- University of Illinois Extension: Repairing Storm Damage to Trees
- “Neil Sperry’s Complete Guide to Texas Gardening Second Edition”; Neil Sperry; 1991
- Mississippi State University Extension Service: Repairing Storm-Damaged Shade, Ornamental, and Fruit Trees