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How to repair tree damage?

Posts: 32
Location: IL/WI Border
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Over the winter our local power company tree trimmers damaged multiple young fruit trees on my property. Below is a pic of the worst damaged tree.

It's a peach tree in which the central leader was knocked off - approx. 2ft of it. The damage comes down the bark that remains.

Do I chop it down to the next limb that is coming off the main trunk?

Do I just leave it be and see what happens?

What about any of the limbs that were damaged? I.E. A 2 ft branch was snapped at 1 ft.

The tree is only a couple of years old. Is it better to just replace it?

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Posts: 9002
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Usually with things like this,  you have to wait and see. Don't coat the wood with anything like tar, which provides a hiding spot for bugs and a water trap that promotes rot.

 I see a lot of small sprigs coming up from the ground. I wonder if these trees are on a root stock that is sending up suckers.
David Castillo
Posts: 32
Location: IL/WI Border
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It is on root stock. The small springs are above the graft spot.
Posts: 754
Location: Porter, Indiana
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It looks to me like the power company thinks you should have your trees be in an open center style instead of central leader.
Posts: 6686
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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David, first thing to do is contact the power company about the damage they caused to your tree.

You have a few choices in how to save this tree.
1) Do nothing till winter comes and see how it recovers on its own. Then you can prune where you need to or just leave it to grow as is.
2) Use some Elmer's glue to cover the bare wood so bugs don't get in. Tar based sealants are the worst thing ever invented, Elmer's will allow the tree trunk to breathe and it doesn't stop the tree from being able to callous over the wound.
3) Prune the tree back to a solid, healthy branch which will then become the leader. If you do this one, you will need to remove the basal suckers so the tree can put all its energy into the top.
4) I would prune off the basal suckers, the only reason to keep them is that you want a bush instead of a tree.

There are two trains of thought when you do major surgery to a tree. 1) leave the exposed wood as is. This thought allows the tree to weep sap to cover the exposed wood all by its self healing comes along well with this method.
2) paint the exposed wood (only the exposed wood, not any of the bark) with Elmer's glue. This forms a breathable seal over the exposed wood to keep out boring bugs.
by not coating the bark, the tree can form the callous it naturally wants to do and the tree will heal nicely. The Elmer's is not weather permanent the way the black, petroleum based coatings are.
Elmer's is what bonsai growers use, it is safe for the tree, it doesn't slow down the natural healing process, it does keep insect pests from gaining a foot hold or worse in the tree's wood.
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