Tree Problems

Remove Tar From Tree Bark Without Killing It

palhy01 added on October 31, 2016 | Answered

I have a 5 ft live oak in which a deer was eating. It looked like a machete knife cut through it. I was advised to spray pruning spray on it. I got too zealous and didn't realize that the bark sent nutrients up and down for survival. I literally sprayed the entire trunk since it was damaged. How can I remove this pruning black spray excess to save the tree? I was not informed and made a terrible mistake. Please, help! PLEASE HELP!!!!!

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on October 31, 2016

The pruning spray is unlikely to kill the tree, but it is also unlikely to be an effective treatment for tree wounds. Generally, it is best to let tree wounds heal by themselves (with the exception of a few specific types of tree). The pruning spray porbably won't get deep enough inside the bark to inhibit nutrient transport.

One problem it could potentially cause is overheating if the tree is in bright sun. Perhaps next year the black spray will wear off, or you could whitewash over it.

If the deer removed bark in a ring all the way around the tree, known as girdling, the tree will die anyway. The only solution is to do a complex grafting procedure:
If not, the tree will probably recover.

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