Wait – Before You Use Pruning Sealer on Trees…

Wait – Before You Use Pruning Sealer on Trees…

Pruning – tree trimming – call it what you will. No matter its name, we love talking about how and why to prune trees at Davey!

The benefits of pruning trees seem endless. Pruning creates stronger, healthier trees, which reduces the risk of trees damaging your property. So, you’ll have less damage and cleanup after storms.

Plus, pruning makes your tree look better – and results in a larger harvest from fruit trees! Now that’s a delicious reason to prune your trees.

Once your tree is pruned, though, should you use pruning sealer on cuts close to the trunk?

Our reader Terri F., recently asked this question after “trimming some lower branches off a sycamore tree.”

Before we delve into whether you should use a pruning sealer on your trees, let’s cover the basics.

What Is a Pruning Sealer?

Pruning sealers, also called pruning paint, are products that claim to “aid the healing of pruning cuts” or “minimize sap loss.”

Most often, these products are petroleum-based, but some even contain asphalt.  Alternatively, there are natural tree sealers with ingredients like collagen and aloe gel.

Should I Use Pruning Sealer on Trees? If So, When Do I Use Tree Sealer?

No – you should not use pruning sealers after pruning your trees or shrubs.

In fact, research from the University of Arizona, found pruning sealers actually obstruct trees’ natural healing power. Yes, you read that correctly! Tree pruning sealers are bad for your trees because it makes harder for your tree to heal.

Plus, pruning sealers may trap moisture in the tree, which can encourage wood decay or fungi.

While we need Band-Aids to reduce blood loss and help our wounds heal, trees simply recover differently than us.

How Trees Recover After Pruning

After pruning, trees grow new wood, which covers the pruning wound, and prevents the invasion of diseases or bugs. 

Trees know how to recover from pruning wounds all on their own.

There you have it! Thanks again to Terri F. for submitting this question.

Comment below with your own tree question. We’ll have an answer for you in a flash!

  • The Tree Doctor July 16, 2018 > Hi Tom, Depending on the type of sealer used and quantity applied, trying to scape off the sealer may cause more damage than leaving it as is. A thick, asphalt sealer may come off in patches. A thin coat of spray sealer may not be able to be removed at all. If it looks like bark is tearing off with the sealer, I would leave well enough alone. While sealers typically do not have the beneficial uses often attributed to them, any direct negative effects are typically rare as well when applied as directed on the product.
  • tom kemp July 11, 2018 >Can i simply scrape off the tree sealer I used on my Mature front-yard maple tree.?
  • The Tree Doctor June 14, 2018 >Hi Gregory, No need to worry. The pruning sealer contains no materials that would move systemically inside the tree. Your peaches are safe to eat. Here if you have any more question, Gregory.
  • Gregory Demeter June 13, 2018 >My Peach Tree cracked between the main stump and it almost killed it; but before I tied the branch back together, I sprayed Spectracide Pruning seal inside the Trunk Crack; my question is, will it poison the Fruit when it comes to harvest the Peaches? Because the Sealer got inside the Tree by my spraying it BEFORE I tied it back and closed the crack....will it be safe to eat the Peaches? Please reply, because I really love this Tree and I planted it myself, about 4 years ago....Thanks. Greg Demeter
  • The Tree Doctor June 12, 2018 >Hi Moak, You may safely remove the limb at your convenience. There isn’t a need to cover the cut with wound dressing or do anything else. Any sap that flows from the pruning cut does not harm the tree and will stop as soon as the cut surface dries.
  • Moak Moak June 8, 2018 >So if I read this article correctly I need to nothing after cutting a limb. I'm in need of removing 3 in diameter limb from an apple tree definitely don't want to destroy the apple tree or Let it bleed to death so if I just cut it and let it go the tree should take care of itself
  • The Tree Doctor June 5, 2018 >Mr./Ms. Healy: We are in the time of year when pruning oaks is not recommended because of the potential for the pruned tree to contract oak wilt. Generally, the safest time to prune oaks is during the dormant winter season. I recommend you contact a certified arborist in your area. He or she can look at your tree and provide an accurate diagnosis and management options. I could forward this to your local Davey Tree office if you’d like. You can also contact them directly at (262) 395-7589. You can also complete a quick form request on their local webpage here: http://www.davey.com/local-offices/milwaukee-tree-service/#main-form. Best of luck to you!
  • MD Healy June 1, 2018 >I have a very large white oak tree. Probably over a 100 years old. A lot of the branches have not sprouted leaves and I assume they have died. I am wondering if it's OK to prune them off at this time of the year. If it is OK how far from the connecting branch should I make the cut?
  • Jill Bratton April 27, 2018 >Thanks! I remember seeing tar or something black anyway on our neighbors trees so I thought I should ask and I'm glad I did! Thank you!
  • RICHARD DOUGLAS February 27, 2018 >Have 2 5'Japanese Blood Red Maples (one in honor of my departed wife) and the other one she picked out earlier and I want to insure their proper survival. Thanks for input on proper trimming and sealing..Garden shop probably would have encouraged sealing. Yea for network.
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