HELP! I don't want to loose my trees!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Holly, May 13, 2005.

  1. Holly

    Holly Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2004
    I need serious advice, if any can be given, on how to save trees that have been "marred".

    Recently we had hired someone to clear some of our land for our house site and for the drain field for the septic. We had clearly marked and discussed with him which trees were to be removed. To our sadness and astonishment, he proceeded to "hit" and run into trees, with his track loader, that were to stay. We don't believe that this was done on purpose or with malice, just carelessness on his part, but the fact remains that we shall most likely loose these trees.

    Is there anything that we could do to keep the trees from eventually dying. I know that EVENTUALLY they will ALL die. The point is that they are/were nice healthy trees that we're afraid will have to go in the next few years rather than say 25-30+ years down the road. It pained us to see any of the trees go. But it's killing me to think that we are going to loose trees that were meant to stay!

    I had heard when I was younger that if you took bark off a tree you could put paint on that spot and it would save the tree. Is this a possibility? Some might be more damaged than that though. I have only seen one that has been hit. My husband informed me that there was 5 to 7 that were damaged.

    Please, If you have ANY ideas I would love to hear them.

    As always, Thank you in advance.
    Holly in MO.
  2. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 13, 2004
    How much damage was done? Is it just some bark knocked off or is the wood cracked or broken?
    Generally, you can figure that a tree can survive as much as a third or half of the circumference having the bark removed, such as when mice or rabbits chew on the bark of a fruit tree. If it is more that half way around the tree the chances get a lot less. If it is just a bark loss problem, and not half way around the tree, some tree wound paint probably wouldn't hurt. If it is damaged more than that, maybe grafting some small twigs over the missing bark would help.


  3. Mutti

    Mutti Well-Known Member Supporter

    Sep 7, 2002
    Have a little faith in nature....trees can survive alot. I was sure that the idiot that piled his backfill on the tree's at my daughter's apartment while digging the drains had killed them...all the leaves turned brown....but this spring they have all leafed out just fine. DEE
  4. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

    Nov 9, 2004
    No help for you Holly but some of us might want to be aggressively defensive in such a situation (esp those with more likely tree injury- like if you're doing a new homesite in a wooded area and workers are used to razing trees flat before such work starts but you're keeping some trees) might want to carefully point out precious trees (almost all of them, eh?) to a contractor and point out that you'll hold him responsible ie not pay him in full or even sue him if he damages them. If he's therefore unwilling to work for you you can compromise but you know he is unlikely to keep the trees intact. And the damage can be caused with longterm work just by traffic over the root zone so fencing off appropr area (bigger than the treeline) around the wanted trees is needed not just preventing direct impact to the trunk. Read about a family building under such conditions who wanted to be sure their lovely house in the woods was still in the woods after all the builders had finished! Nuisance to contractors to follow one path through marked woods but the alternative might've been tree die off after the house was done.
  5. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

    Dec 29, 2002
    The trees will take care of healing on their own. Old school said seal them but years of sealing compared to natural healing showed that the sealed trees died sooner.
  6. TrailDog

    TrailDog Member

    May 5, 2005

    I'll just back up some of what's already been said. The trees have really taken two blows: the damage to the trunk and the compaction of the soil around the roots. Will this impact the health of the trees? Probably. Will it kill the trees? Not necessarily, depending on how extensive the damage is. What can happen is that the trees can be weakened by these two things, and weakened trees are much more prone to attack by insects and disease than healthy trees.

    So, I would recommend "babying" your trees. Get a soil test from the Extension office and fertilize accordingly. Mulch properly, bringing the mulch out at least as far as the branches extend.

    And MaineFarmMom is right: painting the wounds won't help and may actually hurt.
  7. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

    May 10, 2002
    Back in the USA
    Another ditto for what MaineFarmMom said. Do not paint or seal the wound in any way.

    Mutti I'm not surprised the trees that had backfill placed over the root system leafed out this year. The species and amount of fill determine how susceptible the tree is. Depending on the amount of fill I'd be surprised if the trees survived past next year. A lot of time when buying larger trees you get a one year guarantee. The problem with that is it usually takes more than one year for the tree to die unless the tree is already dying when you purchase it.
  8. Kygardengal

    Kygardengal Well-Known Member

    Sep 7, 2004
    Are these trees close to where you will be building? If you are excavating for a foundation, you may end up doing much damage to the tree's root system and loose them anyway.
  9. kemrefarms

    kemrefarms Head Weed Wrangler

    May 9, 2005
    Northern California
    remember all those trees that survived on "deadmans curve" or "devils" curve"??? everybody has big trees that llive along the road and everybody crashes into and somehow they survive? big ol scars and marks (lets carv our initials) and they are still there today!!!!!I have cut down many a tree only to find metal, of course that chewed the chainsaw and cost me more money.
  10. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    A handy note for those who are having heavy equipment in to work near their valuabale trees:

    I get that orange plastic safety fence and make a circle maybe 10 feet past the edge of the canopy of the tree ("weep line?"). Keeps the dozer off of the roots and away from the tree.