Q:

How do you repair a split tree?

A:

Quick Answer

To repair a split tree, assess the damage, clear broken and damaged branches out of the way, trim any torn bark, winch the two sides of the split together, drill holes into both, and secure the split with long bolts. Finish by covering the wounds with pruning paint.

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Full Answer

  1. Assess the damage

    Assess the status of the damaged tree. Whether the tree is young or mature, as long as it's established, it's likely that the lost limb can be salvaged. If the tree is borderline, give it time to heal. If the tree was split in half or lost the majority of its crown, cut it down.

  2. Clear away any broken branches

    Clear away branches that have broken off or that are barely hanging on. Determine which damaged branches need to be removed.

  3. Remove the damaged branches

    For branches smaller than 3 inches in diameter, use pruning shears to make a clear cut. For larger branches, use the three-cut procedure. Cut halfway through the branch from the underside 1 foot from the collar. Move 3 inches up the branch, and cut down until the branch is removed.

  4. Eliminate the torn bark

    Trim away loose bark on the tree.

  5. Pull the split together

    If the break is even, draw the two sections together. Secure a winch 6 feet above the split. Winch the sections back together.

  6. Repair the split

    Drill a hole into both sides of the split. Use a large-diameter steel bolt and threaded screw rod to repair the split. Drive the steel bolt into the drilled hole to secure the two sides. Screw the threaded rod into place. Use two or three bolts if necessary for long splits.

  7. Dress the wounds

    As a last step, use pruning paint to cover any wounds larger than 2 inches.

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