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MsAM
MsAM, Arboriculture-expert
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 11130
Experience:  Biology degree, 40 years experience tree-growing.
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Can a large tree with a split about 4 feet from the bottom

Customer Question

Can a large tree with a split about 4 feet from the bottom be saved by wrapping a heavy rope or cable around the tree at the split? Will the tree eventually grow back together ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Arboriculture
Expert:  MsAM replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in trees.Some additional information will help me determine if there is a chance of saving the tree.

Is the trunk split evenly, with about the same amount on both right and left sides?

Does the split start at 4 feet and go all the way to the top?

Are the leaves wilting?

Thank you.

Anna
Expert:  MsAM replied 1 year ago.
Hi again,

It appears you went offline without seeing my request for additional information. I'm going to go ahead and answer without knowing those things.

A young tree can often grow back together when a split occurs. With an older tree, that is less likely. Most of the transport of water and nutrients occurs in the outer part of the tree, right under the bark. In a small tree, those areas are close together and growth can continue between them.

Sometimes an older tree can survive such a split, but there are several things to consider. If the split goes all the way to the top, survival is unlikely. If the leaves have wilted, it means water is not being transported to them, and the tree cannot survive. If only one side is wilted, that side will die, but the other side may recover. In that case, you'll have a lopsided tree. If the two sides of the split are not fairly equal in size, healing is unlikely. again, the stronger side may live.

If the leaves look healthy, the two sides are about equal in size, and the split is not extremely long, it might be worth trying to cable the tree. However, there is one other consideration. Even if the tree survives and seems to heal, the trunk will always be weak. Such a tree can pose a danger to structures nearby.

You will have to take all these things into consideration when making your decision. I hope that whatever you decide to do, it will work out well.

Anna

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