I found your article on damaged trees by Googling to see if you can save a small tree after chewing damage. We are not experienced with any kind of real plant or tree husbandry, but my husband loves the stuff and wants to learn. I bought him a Satsuma tree (sapling) for an anniversary present and when we got home yesterday our dogs had chewed on the bottom of it. Is there anything we can do to give it first aid or is it a lost cause? The damage is mostly all on one side, but as it was chewed out of behavioral issues and not food, it has shredded pieces of bark that are split off but not entirely missing. I didn't know what to do yesterday, so I wrapped a wet cloth around it to keep it from drying out and started looking online for suggestions. I read something about painting it, using electrical tape to wrap it, and/or using grafting wax to seal it. I read your article about cleaning with soapy water and rinsing with clean water, and about maybe re-attaching the bark. Will using the tape or doing any of the above help the shredded pieces re-attach and maybe survive, or should I clean the wound instead and hope for the best? Or is the tree just too young and too small to survive this kind of damage?
Damage to a Sapling
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
From the image you sent and the fact that you have washed the tree wound with clean soapy water, this would be the care I would recommend.
Do not cover the wound with anything. Allow the air to circulate around the tree and for it to heal naturally.
Keep an eye out for any changes in color that would indicate disease or fungus.
I really think you tree will survive this damage.
I have had young trees with much more severe damage from critters heal and continue to grow.
Thank you very much. I appreciate your taking the time to answer.