Occasionally, smaller trees in the woodlot will get damaged. Heavy snow, ice build up from freezing rain or perhaps a larger tree falling, can break the top of a tree. If it is a tree that is special to you and you do not want to lose it, then there may be something you can do to help repair it. In my work with Christmas trees, I sometimes use flagging tape to straighten up a top. I’ve adopted this same principal to help repair smaller, damaged trees that I want to keep and it does work! There is often some little trick that one can to help repair a damaged tree rather than give up on it.
In Prince Edward Island we get freezing rain which causes ice build up on trees. Sometime the weight is too much and the top of the tree gets broken. I have pine trees planted along the side of one of my roads and I want to keep them. I’ve had this ice problem break tops more than once. Also, damage can occur when cutting larger trees or when high winds blow down some mature trees.
The damaged top can be repaired and in time the damage might not even be noticed. I start by tying a straight stick to the stem of the tree below the broken spot. This stick will extend well up past the broken spot. Plastic flagging tape works well for this. In fact, I find a lot of uses for flagging tape around my woodlot. The next step is to take one of the branches below the damage and tie it to the stick. Take care not to put too much pressure on the branch as you tie it to the stick. This branch will, within one or two years, become the new top. The stick holding the branch will eventually be removed. I’m sorry that my photographs do not show this as well as they should but this tree repair does work.
Although I am showing only pine trees in this blog, similar treatments can apply to hardwood trees as well. Hardwood trees may have a tendency to have a two tops. This will create a fork in the tree that will be a weak spot as the tree gets older. By cutting back one of the two forks, at a very early age, and by tying the stem that you want to become the main trunk of the tree, you can straighten the tree. This will make for a stronger and more attractive tree in the future. A single main stem is usually more attractive then a tree that is forked only a few meters from the ground. If any readers would like more information or would like to see photos of a hardwood (oak) tree that has been repaired please send me a reply. You can simply send a comment at the bottom of this page or send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Until next time, keep safe and well.
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