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anchor man

Tree damage

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During a recent storm I lost a large branch off one of our younger 14inch diameter silver maples. The branch broke off near the trunk and left a good size split that goes right into the trunk leaving a large portion of the inner tree expose. How will this affect the tree's future in terms of disease, rot, bugs etc? Is there anything I can do to protect the tree?

Thanks

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I'd spray it down with some of that black tree "wound" spray. Silver Maples are rather resiliant trees.

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I remember the same thing happened to my parents Silver maple in the early 80's. He painted on some black wound stuff and the tree is doing fine. So fine that he's going to pay an arm and a leg to cut the thing down. It's huge! They just never stop growing. Make sure you keep it trimmed up so it doesn't get out of hand over the roof or anything.

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But if you listen to the guy on AM 1500 on Saturday morning he says that you should let nature take it's course and not spray anything. Perhaps call or stopping at a nursery and getting some advice form a pro would be wise.

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I hate starting controversy on here but once in awhile my education in urban forestry and horticulture forces it.

Respectable arborists that are current with their education have seen the research that shows black paint has no effect what so ever on trees. "Dumby Paint" as its now referred to is constantly found in research studies to be useless. Dont waste your time going to the hobby shop or hardware store to get black paint. Also realize there really isnt much of any difference between the black tree paint and any old black spray paint you'll get in the hobby shops.

Silver's are tough trees. Personally I wouldnt be concerned about diseases or insects. My concern would be with the overall appearance and stability of the crown. If the shape and crown of the tree have not been changed significantly by the loss of this branch then dont worry about it. The tree will be fine. But if the tree is horribly flat sided or completely malformed it may need removal due to safety issues.

At times trees are badly maimed by storms and left standing. They end up coming down causing massive damage in relatively mild storms due to the loss of stability in the crown caused by the loss of significant branches in prior heavier storms.

I hope my lengthy book version response helps everyone out.

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Quetico is correct in not recommending black paint. For the most part tree paint is visual and doesn't help "heal" the tree (although painting spring wounds on oak trees can protect them from obtaining oak wilt).

You will have to decide if you want to keep the tree (visual and safety concerns). Keep in mind silver maple are a soft and brittle tree and are suseptible to breakage. They are also fast growing and can heal quickly. A split or break into the bole of the tree is a pathway for decay and heartrot. I had a silver maple split in two all the way to the ground line about 8 years ago. I removed half the tree exposing the entire split. So far the remaining half is doing good and continuing to heal around the split. My tree isn't a safety concern if it comes down. Just my 2 cents in helping you decide what to do with your maple.

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