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Pruning wounds-their making and treatment

Neglect or improper making of wounds frequently result in serious injury or even premature, destruction of the tree. Neglect in pruning is usually accompanied by carelessness in making and neglect in caring for the wounds. Just the reverse should be true for the wounds will be larger and if they are to heal, the utmost care should be taken in these respects.

In pruning young trees or where thorough annual pruning is practiced a strong knife and small hand shears are all the tools that are necessary until the tree reaches the height where a pole pruner will be needed for heading-in the top branches. On newly set trees, a strong knife is more desirable than the hand shears because the branches can be cut off nearer the trunk.

By cutting from below upward toward the trunk or branch to which it is attached, quite large branches may be removed without difficulty. Care should be taken as the branch is nearly severed that the knife does not come through suddenly and injure other branches which are to be left. In removing branches with the pruning shears, put the blade next to the trunk or main branch and press the branch to be removed away from the blade.

Removal of large branches is a more difficult proposition as there is danger of the branch breaking down and splitting, into a ragged wound, or pulling off large areas of bark. To avoid this, double sawing is usually desirable. It consists in cutting the branch off some little distance from the trunk or main branch, and then removing the stub. In the first sawing, it is well to saw one-third to one-half through the branch from the under side, then finish the sawing from above. The uppercut should be made slightly farther back from the trunk than the under. This method overcomes splitting back.

For removing large branches a pruning saw is desirable, of which there are a very great many forms on the market. The ax should never be used. All branches should be cut off as near the branch or trunk to which they are attached as possible, and the cut should be made parallel to the part from which removed. While this makes a somewhat larger wound, it will heal more readily than a small wound made in any other way. Stubs are monuments to the ignorance of the pruner, unless one-year-old growth left for the production of fruit spurs. On older wood they are valueless, seldom heal over, and become sources, of infection and decay.

Care should be taken to have the surface of the wound smooth. Rough or splintered wounds heal slowly and the longer the time required in healing, the greater the danger from infection. If the bark has been torn around the edges of the wound, the uneven edges should be cut back to sound bark. Sharp tools are necessary for good work. The knife, pruning shears, and saw usually make good wounds with ordinary care, but dull tools should always be avoided.

Wounds a half inch or more in diameter should be treated ­ those which are smaller heal so readily that it is unnecessary. Any material that is adhesive will prevent checking, keep out moisture and fungi, and will not injure the cambium, may be used. The object of treating the wound is protection, thus insuring good healing. The material used will not hasten the healing only as it prevents unfavorable conditions. One of the best, cheapest, and most easily applied materials is. It should be quite thick so as to give a heavy coat when applied. Other materials frequently used are grafting wax and pine tar.