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Thread: Large apricot tree trunk split

  1. #1
    Bignick58 is offline Germinator
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    Default Large apricot tree trunk split

    Our ~4 metre tall, 8 year old apricot tree suffered badly in yesterdays high winds, the trunk has split down the middle (almost). Does anyone think that the tree can be saved by 1) removing the whole left hand side and split trunk. 2) Removing left hand side branched and reinstating the trunk with a bolt or strapping? Or 3) trim up lots of the left hand branches to reduce weight and then trying to hold the two halves together? Or 4) just cut it off and see what happens?
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  2. #2
    burnie is offline Veggie gardener
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    Welcome Nick, I'm no expert on fruit trees, but I think you will need to treat the wound with something like this to keep out the nasties, what ever route you take.
    https://www.ashridgetrees.co.uk/tree...brex-seal-heal
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  3. #3
    nickdub is offline Early Fruiter
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    My advice would be to take as much weight off the branches involved by pruning first, taking out as much as seems sensible. Then use some strapping to bind up the split trunk - you need something strong but not abrasive, like the nylon straps you sometimes see on ratchets for holding down loads. The aim will be to pull the split back together as gradually as possible, a bit like trying to get a broken leg back in line - obviously this may mean a lot of force is needed but try to apply it as widely as possible (maybe some woodworking cramps and blocks of wood ?) as injuring the bark will just make things worse.

    Another tricky part will come when deciding on when to take the strapping off - probably have a good look at things May, June next year and make a decision then.

    Good luck
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  4. #4
    ameno is online now Rooter
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickdub View Post
    Another tricky part will come when deciding on when to take the strapping off - probably have a good look at things May, June next year and make a decision then.

    Good luck
    Depending how thick the portion that split away is, it may well need permanent strapping.
    The bark and cambrian layer will heal and knit back together, but the heartwood never will. It will remain permanently severred, and so will forever be weaker than it once was.
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  5. #5
    Bignick58 is offline Germinator
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    Default Thanks for the replies

    Thanks for your help Ameno, Nickdub, Burnie, I have removed a lot of the branches on the 'split away' side of the tree and have pulled the wound back together (ish!) with some strapping, I will get some stronger strapping tomorrow and some sort of wound sealant for the trunk. It will be a little lopsided assuming it survives but that's certainly better than taking the whole thing down. Thanks again. Nick
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  6. #6
    nickdub is offline Early Fruiter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bignick58 View Post
    Thanks for your help Ameno, Nickdub, Burnie, I have removed a lot of the branches on the 'split away' side of the tree and have pulled the wound back together (ish!) with some strapping, I will get some stronger strapping tomorrow and some sort of wound sealant for the trunk. It will be a little lopsided assuming it survives but that's certainly better than taking the whole thing down. Thanks again. Nick
    You're very welcome

    Generally trees are tough and with reasonable luck I expect this one will recover.

    As Ameno has noted sometimes some permanent extra support will be need due to the weakness from the split - if next year this looks to be a problem I would not advise leaving the strapping on, but putting in some different support then. This could be a simple prop up from the ground, or a piece of rope tied further up the tree from one branch to another - in one case in a plum tree I drilled right through the trunk and put a long metal bolt through - not the prettiest of solutions :-)

  7. #7
    devonuk is offline Sprouter
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    I hadn't thought of the point that it is only the outer layers (cambium and bark) which will re-knit. As the heartwood is effectively dead anyway, could one put a big dollop of strong wood glue in there before strapping?

  8. #8
    nickdub is offline Early Fruiter
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    Quote Originally Posted by devonuk View Post
    I hadn't thought of the point that it is only the outer layers (cambium and bark) which will re-knit. As the heartwood is effectively dead anyway, could one put a big dollop of strong wood glue in there before strapping?
    I'd advise against using glue - there are living processes withing the tree trunk - as long as you can stop a serious disease getting in, then the tree will continue to grow - after that the next consideration is enough physical integrity to take the weights and stresses involved - a bit of rope tied together between a few high up branches is probably the simplest though not the most elegant solution.

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