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Elm bark torn, not torn off.....

 
pollinator
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Earlier today I nicked one of our nicer, middle-aged American elm trees with the front-loader on the tractor.  It scraped up a wound of peeled bark about 2-3 inches wide by 8 inches long....but the bark is still attached and the flap still hanging on.  Is it recommended to remove the flap for healing or possibly band it into place with either twine or tree wrap?  The tree diameter at the point of the wound is about 10 inches.  Thanks!
 
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Hi John,

Carefully remove the flap of bark, without damaging any viable tissues. Watch out for peel, when doing this, have some tools handy. If the bark edges left on the tree are realy rough, which in those type of wounds they typically are: use a sharp chisel, disinfected with rubbing alcohol, to edge the wound. That means carefully go around the edges of the wound, surgically removing the rough, or peeled back bark edges, to healthy tissue. Remove as little tissue as possible to achieve this, while making sure the tissue edges left are healthy and viable. If you can envision the bark layer as a loaf of bread, cut the bark layer straight, like a slice of bread, without damaging the wood if possible. Don't use a hammer, use a knife and sharp chisel.  

This will eliminate bug hiding places, so they can't leave their high nitrogen frass to speed up rot. It also eliminates places moisture can linger, to minimize rot, while letting the sunlight better disinfect the wound. It also leaves clean surgical cuts on the canbium layer, which often speeds up the generation of bark tissues to more quickly close the wound, and help compartmentalize the potential for pathogenic rots.

Hope that helps
 
John Weiland
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Thanks, R. Steele, for this detailed response.  I will have a look at the wound again and see which way we want to proceed.
 
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The only thing I can add to R. Steele's excellent post is that you might want to spread some white Elmer's glue over the exposed tree interior to prevent any problems arising later on.
A wound that size will take a few years to heal completely and the Elmer's will go away as the tree heals.

Redhawk
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