How long does it take a split tree trunk to heal?

Some kids snapped off a limb on a young tree I planted. :frowning: It was six inches tall when I planted it. It’s taken three years to reach 3 feet.

The limb broke and split the trunk. The split was abut three inches long and a quarter inch deep. The tree trunk is abut 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches diameter.

Thank god the limb hadn’t fully torn off. I was able to cut the limb off without any more splitting of the trunk.

I used duct tape on the split. Will it grow back together? When can I remove the tape? six months? a year? maybe never? I don’t want the tape to constrict or damage the tree. It has a lot more growing to do.

Will it even heal during the winter?

What tree species? About how old is the tree? Has the tree dropped its leaves for this autumn?

You may want to contact your local county Ag extension agent or local gardening club for advice.

I wouldn’t count on it “healing” (the vascular tissue knitting back together and function resuming from there), although it’s possible. They splice tissue from one plant onto another by doing something similar.

It depends on how quickly you repaired the damage, basically. If the exposed vascular tissue had time to dry out or be infected, the tree probably cut its losses and sealed off the wound, in which case there’ll be a scar there.

The good news is that, barring infection, the tree will probably be fine, I’d guess. If the trunk wasn’t completely girdled (all the vascular tissue disrupted all the way around the trunk), the tree should be able to adapt.

I don’t know how long it will take or even IF it will take, but the from what I’ve been seeing lately* the new advice seems to be to drive a bolt through it rather then wrap something around it. For something only 1.5 inches. You’d want to drill a hole all the way through and use a small machine bolt with some nuts and washers on each side. My understanding is that this does less damage since it destroys less of the tree, whereas wrapping something all the way around the tree effectively cuts off the circulation (or rather, cuts off water/nutrition from getting up to the top.

*and by ‘seeing’ I mean it’s what Roger does on (Ask) This Old House.

catalpa tree. three years old. it’s grown three feet in three years. pretty fast grower.

I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Catalpa is a native tree in AR, I believe, and it’s a pretty tough cookie. Remember that trees in nature have to be able to adapt to wind damage/losing limbs all the time. Unless it interrupted most or all of the vascular tissue lying under the bark, it’ll probably be OK.

It won’t grow back together, but it will heal.

The healing occurs while it is actively growing, so not much will happen in the winter. I’d take the duct tape off next spring.

It took a few years for a pear tree that a beaver chomped half the trunk off to heal, the tree is doing fine now. Splits from the bear breaking branches on my fruit trees usually heal in a year.

I’ll be sure and remove the tape in the spring. I sure don’t want it constricting as the tree grows.

Has very big leaves on it. So far it hasn’t flowered. keep hoping it will as it gets bigger.