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Fruit Trees

Q.Fruit Trees with Exposed Heart Wood

Anonymous added on September 28, 2011 | Answered

I have a fruit tree that has split open with the outer wood and bark rolled back exposing the heart wood. Other than this the tree is doing quite well and produced fruit this year as in the past. This condition has gone on for several years but it appears that the length of the split is growing. I estimate that the bark has rolled back 1/3 the diameter of the tree. I have used pruning sealer over the split area including on the rolled back wood. Any suggestions?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on September 29, 2011

Trees can live with exposed heartwood without problems. As long as the bark and first green ring of wood (which is what keeps trees alive) is healthy, the tree will be fine. You should not fill it or seal it, as this can trap disease and rot in the wound and make the problem worse. The heartwood is actually dead, so when it rots away, it is not a direct threat to the tree. You can treat the area yearly with a fungicide and cover the opening with a piece of metal that can be removed (to apply the fungicide) to keep water and animals out of the exposed heartwood.

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