Healing trees with bark damage involves several actions, including physical repair, filling cavities and pruning. When wounded, trees respond in two ways: compartmentalization and development of protective zones. Regardless of how trees react to injury, however, there are several methods used to help them heal correctly and rapidly.
Trees that respond to injury via compartmentalization seal their wounds by forming areas of new wood growth around the affected area. This essentially creates a callus, which isolates older, damaged tissues and supports the growth of healthy new tissue. Trees may also respond to injury by creating barrier zones; using this mechanism, they try to close damaged tissue from the outside and protect existing vulnerable wood from infection. In both situations, tree recovery can be expedited using a set of techniques. The first action to take is physical repair. Ragged and damaged bark edges should be removed with a sharp knife, taking care to avoid injuring healthy bark and exposing more live tissue. According to Texas A&M University, wound dressings are generally not recommended because they may impede healing and increase the risk of infection and decay. Cavity filling may be used to clean out cavities and improve aesthetics, while proper pruning can help trees close wounds and defend themselves against infection.