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Trees/Tree spike wounds


Greetings Jim,

Like an earlier questioner (from 2008), we had professional pruners come to mostly trim "sucker" branches on three 100-year old white oaks, which are thriving; but they used spikes to climb. Obviously not happy that this happened. Turns out we paid money to have our trees harmed. At any rate, this was 9 months ago, and it seems the trees are compartmentalizing the damage. Only one tree seemed spiked a lot, while the other two were spiked in relatively few places (though one unfortunately had damage in one spot that had sap come out for a while, which has since stopped and seems to be improving). My question: how many years before the unsightly wounds (mostly less than 1 inch each) are basically blended into the bark and hard to see, assuming all goes well with the trees?

(Note to everyone reading: know what's bad and good for trees and be present when trimmers come!)

Thank you for your time,


Sounds like the trees are growing and is taking care of the wounds. There is not really a good answer of how long it will take. Generally younger trees heal faster than older ones and healthy trees heal faster than stressed trees. In any case it will take several years for the callus material to grow over the wounds. Younger trees form the compartments faster since they are growing in diameter faster than old trees. The best thing to do is to keep the tree healthy. I would recommend that you fertilize the trees with 10-10-10 fertilizer at the rate of 1 lb. per inch of trunk diameter scattered around the tree and watered in good. Apply just before a rain event and you will not need to water. I would apply the fertilizer now and again in the spring. Now will increase the root growth and in the spring the foliage growth. This in turn will increase the cells in the trunk. Make sure you do not use a weed and feed product this contains a herbicide that will kill the tree. Just plain ole 10-10-10 fertilizer will work best.  


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Jim Hyland


I am an expert in Forestry, Forest Entomology, Forest Pest Control, and Forest Health. Extensive knowledge in Identification of insects and diseases of trees. Expert on Bark beetles and other insects that attack forests. Also a Registrated Forester with extensive knowledge in the management and care of forests.


34 years as State Pest Management Chief in a Southern state. Extensive knowledge in Forestry.

BS with major in Forest Management and Entomology
Registered Forester
Certified Pesticide Appicator

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