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Japanese Maple Tree
Large branch snapped off

Q: I recently purchased a Japanese maple tree about 3 feet tall. While planting it one of the larger branches accidentally snapped off.

The break was at the trunk and actually pierced a chunk into the trunk. There are still a lot of other branches that will fill the gap but I am worried that the tree will die from disease or from the trauma.

Is there anything i should do to help this beautiful tree to stabilize and will the "wound" heal over and grow a new branch?

A: My guess is that the tree should be OK. Losing just one branch should not be so traumatizing that the tree will die as a result.

As for diseases, there are decay organisms looking for entry points into a tree so this is a possibility, but a remote one in my opinion.

As for caring for the wound, there is nothing you really need to do. Do not paint the wound, it won't really help. You should see callus tissue forming around the edges of the wound this spring.

This is a sign that the tree has begun to "repair" itself by forming new wood to cover the wound. As long as the tree continues to do this, it should eventually entirely cover over the wound.

You can help the tree in this process by making sure it is properly watered, and perhaps fertilize it. Since it is a new installation, do not use a high nitrogen fertilizer quite yet as this will promote leaf and twig growth, whereas right how you want the roots to begin establishing.

Your local garden center or nursery can help you determine what product would be best for it right now, then you can fertilize it in full in the fall.

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Tom Mugridge

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