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Trees/bark damage on my Ginko


QUESTION: Hello: Recently I was having my lawn rolled and aerated and the contractor hit my Ginkgo tree with his machine peeling about 8 inches by 3 inches of bark off and exposing the yellow flesh of the tree. I have the piece of bark that was tore off. What should I do to repair the damage. I would hate to lose the tree, it is about 20 feet tall. Thanks.

ANSWER: Now you did indicate it was about twenty feet tall, what would you estimate the circumference to be.

How long ago did this occur?  

I will formulate a full answer with more info.  Not sure if you have a photo or not to pass along.

Now there are other items you may also wish to think about and address.  

a) if the machine is that close to the tree, then future damage may occur to this one or others.  
b) rolling the lawn, depending upon the equipment, directly over the root zone is not optimal as it will cause compaction to the soil.  The degree of compaction is not known with data present, but it is certain that compaction would occur.


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tree damage
tree damage  

Ginkgo tree
Ginkgo tree  
QUESTION: Robin: I have attached a pic of the damage and the tree. The damage occurred Thurs April 25, but I only noticed it on Sat April 27. The diameter is about 5-6 inches at the base. I have told the contractor 100 times to stay away from all trees. Hope you can offer a solution. I would hate to lose this tree.

The damage is fortunately, or does not appear to be at least, a huge portion of the circumference.  Although it does appear to be rather nasty, and may be into the heartwood a bit.  How deep is that?

It looks like the bark is still attached to the wound area, and covering it.  This is actually making it somewhat more difficult to see, but not a huge issue.

The Gingko biloba is a rather resilient tree, and should not suffer long term issues as a result of this wound.  It will look ugly in that area and will take a while to heal and cover over with wound wood.  Fortunately the long portion of the wound is vertical which is more beneficial from a tree recovery perspective.  

You are going to have to clean out the wounded area of the tree by removing jagged or broken wood and edges using a sharp knife.   You will also likely need to remove the bark that has been lifted, as it is not likely going to be something you could successfully lie back into place and have the wood heal over it.  

Would dressing is not typically recommended, nor necessary.  It does not help the tree to heal, and in some cases it can actually cause more negative issues than benefits.

If you do desire to put some wound treatment on it, then I would recommend looking at a product called Lac Balsam.  It was originally developed as a grafting treatment, however it is the best product we have seen to use when customers actually wish to have a wound treatment applied.  

Again, wound treatment it is not necessary, but if you feel so inclined it is what I would suggest.  It is the only product we will use if a customer should request something be applied.  If it were in a properly performed pruning wound, I would not typically even suggest that anything be applied as the tree is quite capable of covering over itself.


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Robin Wells


Most of my experience is in urban forestry and landscape environment. Questions related to tree identification, tree diseases or insect related problems, soil related issues or soil science, pruning techniques or practices, pesticide related questions, fertilization of trees or shrubs, tree support systems (cabling or bracing), tree planting, tree watering needs or tree risk assessment/management, although insect related we also have a specific area dealing with the emerald ash borer.


30 years work in urban forestry. Bachelor degree in forestry. ISA Certified Arborist. ISA Certified Tree Risk Assessor. Consulting Arborist. Ontario licensed pesticide applicator.

ISA Intrenational ISA Ontario Ontario Commercial Arborist Association Tree Care Industry Association American Society of Consulting Arborists

Midland Mirror ( newspaper )

Bachelor degree in forestry. Many other post university seminars and courses in Aboriculture.

Past/Present Clients
Various commercial, residential, municipal, real estate and legal clients. Typically do not list the names.

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