Saving damaged maple tree

Credit: iStockphoto


Q: I recently purchased a acer palmatum ‘Koto no ito’ maple for a patio planter. I also have a puppy that, soon after potting the tree, removed it along with a large amount of the bark from one side of the trunk. What are the chances for this little tree, is there something I should do to help correct the damage, or is it to late?

Plants have a great capacity to heal themselves and often can do it better and quicker than we humans with all our technology can.

Trees can survive with up to 70% of the bark removed. The inner part of the bark is made of small tubes like drinking straws. These form nutrient and water channels like a highway from the top of the plant to the bottom and vice versa. If the damage is longitudinal (top to bottom of the tree) then the tree will heal itself and over time will flourish. if the damage went ALL the way around (latitudinally) then it is time to start again.

If only partly damaged and not all the way around, avoid trying pruning seal And other asphalt compounds. These are placebos for us and do no real healing function. Make sure the wound is clean and there is no ooze or dirt in it And the plant will heal around itself. It is in some shock so a mild liquid fertiliser such as a transplant fertiliser 5-15-5 with a root hormone (diluted according to the directions) once every 14 days (for the next 3 months) will help mildly stimulate the plant back into health.