Fruit trees can split in their trunks or main branches, usually due to storm damage but sometimes from a heavy fruit crop that stresses the tree. Splits can be mended and the portions of wood fused back together, although this takes some time. The technique that most tree-repair services and arborists use to fix a split tree is rather basic, but it takes specific equipment and process. Assessing whether the tree is fixable and how to repair more severe damage is usually the most difficult part of the process.
Assess the damage to the fruit tree to determine whether it is possible to fix the split. Inspect the split to figure out if you can bring together the two split parts and whether the two sides of the split are nearly even and have enough wood on both sides.
Tie a heavy rope or chain around the split branch or trunk, approximately six to eight feet above the split. Attach the rope or chain to a winch, or “come-a-long,” and use the winch to force the two parts together so that they’re touching and flush.
Drill a hole through the split portions of the branch or trunk perpendicular to the split. Insert a large threaded rod or bolt with large washers on each end through the split branch to hold the two wood portions together.
Remove the rope or chain from the tree branch or trunk. If you have a longer split, drill more holes and insert one or two more bolts to hold the split together.
Things You Will Need
- Heavy rope or chain
- Large-diameter steel bolt or threaded screw rod with washers
- Cable and lag screws (optional)
- If the split is in the main trunk, in addition to the bolts, you can also attach a steel cable between the two main branches above the split. Attach the cable to the two branches using lag screws, ensuring that the cable is three or four feet above the split. This will help hold the split together and protect it from further damage.
- Don't wrap cables, chains or ropes around the split trunk or branches to fuse the split back together. Doing so will girdle the tree branch or trunk as the tree grows.
- Don't attempt to repair your fruit tree if it has extensive damage or if you're unsure of the proper way to fix the damage. Contact your local tree-repair service for advice and help.
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