McCoy Tree Surgery

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


This is a list of frequently asked questions that our foresters have collected. Take a look at this list and your question might have already been asked and answered.


Table of Contents

What is grafting?

Why shouldn't I periodically prune my trees?

Do I paint tree wounds?




Q: What is grafting?

A: Grafting is the process of taking two different trees and combing them into one plant.

An arborist will graft two similar trees to allow the final tree to have the best of both original trees. The process starts by finding two compatible trees. Once the trees have been found, the two must be prepared for the graft. Different trees have slightly different procedures. However, you must cut the top off of one plant to prepare the rooted portion of the new tree. Then the bottom must be cut off of the second tree to prepare the new top section. The two halves are then placed together and bound so that they can grow into one final tree.

There are several reasons that trees are grafted. The most common would be to provide a dwarf fruit tree on a very hardy root stock. The root stock of a full size tree is grafted to a dwarf version so that the final tree has a healthy root system but yet the fruit can be picked from the ground.

The weeping mulberry tree is "created" by grafting the branched portion of the tree upside down on the same trunk of the tree. This way the tree is "confused" and the branches point towards the ground for a weeping effect.
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Q: Why shouldn't I periodically prune my trees?

A: Trees should not be pruned periodically.

Periodic tree pruning would be the equivalent to mowing your lawn. Grass responds to the cutting by sprouting growth which creates a "full" lawn.

Trimming a tree periodically to keep it a specific size is like giving a puppy a haircut. The outside gets smaller, but the puppy still grows.

Trees should be trimmed for a specific reason. They should be trimmed so that continued growth will not interfere with houses, power lines, or other trees.

If you have a tree that is too large for the location, the only real option that you have is to remove it and plant a tree that matches the area.
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Q: Do I paint tree wounds?

A: Yes and No.

Part 1: Explanation of the No answer.

Tree paints, tars, concrete, foam and any other material are not recommended for tree wounds or cavities for the following reasons:

1. Tree paints (pruning sealers) are derived from petroleum products and are toxic to plant cell tissues.

2. The materials mentioned above lock in moisture, accelerating the decay process by providing the perfect habitat for wood destroying fungi. {Dark, warm and moist.}

3. Paints do very little to keep out insects and disease. They crack & peel within a year. Trees naturally harden-off, by forming a protective barrier, within 48 hours.

Here's an analogy. Have you ever painted a wet house? Of course not, but this is what happens when a tree wound is painted. When a limb is cut or torn, cells are severed, releasing all kinds of good stuff in a wet solution.
Part 2: Explanation of the Yes answer.

Pruning paints are used where Oak wilt is found, and to control the peach tree borer.

Oak wilt is a serious disease that affects red oaks and live oaks. This fungus reacts in a tree similar to the way that bad cholesterol acts in humans. It clogs the vascular bundles. If pockets of oak wilt are known in your neighborhood, treat any fresh wound immediately during the Spring and Fall months.

The August peach tree borer is deadly. Pruning paint, in this case, is the lesser of two evils. Paint fresh wounds that you find between May and September on your peach trees. In addition, these trees should be treated for the borer from March through October.
Conclusion:

Trees seal better and faster naturally, without any pruning paints.
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