The Q&A Archives: Wound Repair

Question: I removed a dead branch from a newly planted (9 months ago) red bud bush and the branch did not come off clean. How do I repair the wound so the bush does not become diseased. I have an old gardening book that says it can be painted with house paint? Is this true? What should I do to seal this wound?

Answer: That is an old gardening book! Sealing wounds is no longer recommended for any plants other than roses. Research shows that sealing the wound with paint interferes with the plant's natural healing mechanisms. It may also seal in moisture or pest and disease problems. Just make a clean smooth cut, close to where the branch meets the trunk (but not extremely close, as in what used to be a flush cut), with a clean, sharp tool. (Roses are sealed with wood glue after pruning to keep out rose cane borers.)

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