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I have a couple of plum trees that were planted about 2 years ago that I noticed have some trunk damage after this winter. We had a long winter in Reno, NV this year.

I initially thought it might be bug damage, maybe rabbit or something too, or just damage from the cold weather?

Here is a couple pictures of the trunks. The trees did ok this spring, flowered a bit less than i would have expected, but now have approriate leaves.

Is there anything I should do to the trunks to help repair them? Prevent it from happening again?





 

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Jack of all - master none
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I am absolutely not an arborist, but it looks like that damage is all close to the ground - where a small animal could have caused it. Is it also up higher on the trunk?

A lot of people put a piece of corrugated plastic pipe around the bottom of the tree to protect it:


(Image found on google)
 

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paper hanger and painter
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I am absolutely not an arborist, but it looks like that damage is all close to the ground - where a small animal could have caused it. Is it also up higher on the trunk?

A lot of people put a piece of corrugated plastic pipe around the bottom of the tree to protect it:


(Image found on google)
I do believe you are correct:thumbsup:
 

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Too Short? Cut it Again!
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Grew up in orchard country and I think, given your climate, you got some bark vulnerability from the weather and something chewing away at what was exposed.

I would think about protecting that trunk as shown but might also consider a spray to keep insects out until there is some healing. You might call the University of Nevada ag extension, if anybody answers the phone, for recommendations.

Years ago when I practiced landscape design the battle about whether to seal open wounds and pruning cuts was starting. I do not know how that has ended up where you are but you might consider some tree tar on a wound like that? Do you have a real nursery near you can ask if no helpline is availed by the University or State?

Good news? Plums are usually very sturdy. I had a purple barked flowering one in the front yard of my home in Northern California. Weather and creatures would try to get it but it was tough.
 

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the Musigician
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I'm with LHO. Deer rutting.
If it was chewed by small critter, this picture could not be explained.

DM
 

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Here is a photo of a poor maple tree that gets revisited every year. We have tried the corrugated drain pipe. Look what he did three nights ago (this was not the perforated type). You should have heard all the terrible racket.
 

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PE Mechanical Engineer
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You should try to trim off the loose bark and clean up the edges with a clean knife to deny bugs and such any place to hide. Remove as little intact bark as you can. There are trunk protectors made from fine mesh wire that would let air get at the wound which will help the tree harden off the damage.

It is a serious wound but plums are pretty tough. Make sure it gets enough water and spray for leaf pests if necessary. The tree will be stressed enough recovering from the wound, you want to keep all the other stressors in check.
 

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the Musigician
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Isn't there a brush on tar-like substance you can get to help seal it up?

DM
 

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Def the right thing to do. Anything to cover the bottom and protect it from small animals. Also a piece of chain link fence rapped around it will keep it safe too.
 

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Architectural Sculptor
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Ive read that if the tree trunk is more than 1/3 debarked like this, the tree most likely will die, that's a huge injury to the vital bark, it's akin to having your leg amputated in a way, I have a large tree that in an ice storm a large limb tore off, stripping the bark down about 8 feet, and a wide strip, it appears to be healing and the tree appears to be recouperating. The damage is just about 1/3rd of the circumference of the trunk, but it's a mature tree and it's probably right on the borderline of go/no go, your trees might be fine, just make sure they don't suffer ANY more damage of any kind, that includes pests, bugs, insects, leaf eaters etc.

I don't know but I would assume you would want to forego any trimming, pruining etc on these for a few years, any additional injury or insults to them won't be good, you'll probably want to be sure they get plenty of water if possible too.

As far as repairing/sealing it, I guess I'm of the mind that trees have been around a lot longer than we have, gone thru fires, floods, hail, ice, snow damage and animals and they still survive, out in the forest a tree would be damaged like this and there's no one around to repair it but nature, keep the trunk protected as suggested, but let nature fix itself if it can.
 

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If the tree bark damage goes from 25% to 50%, the tree will suffer some damage but most likely will survive. Damage will appear in the form of lost leaves and dead branches. Wounds of this size need to be treated as soon as possible and should be watched carefully.
 
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